Iran says will respond to U.S. harassment of passenger plane at ‘appropriate time’

July 27, 2020 - 12:7

TEHRAN — Iran has announced that it will respond to the United States’ harassment of its passenger plane over Syria at “an appropriate time”.

“The Americans have been trying different types of piracy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday during a press conference, Mehr reported.

“The dangerous action they took against our passenger plane was a terrorist threat which was against all legal and international principles,” he said.

“How can he claim that he stands by the Iranian people while the U.S. president has taken measures against every single Iranian person with his maximum pressure, economic terrorism, and closing down the legal channels of importing medicine and equipment for chronically ill children?” Foreign Ministry spokesman asks. Mousavi said the Foreign Ministry, with the help of Civil Aviation Organization, General Staff of Armed Forces and the Judiciary, will take all measures to make the U.S. regret its actions.

He explained that certain measures have been taken with this regard, including a protest lodged by Iran’s mission in the United Nations.

“After the final report is ready, we will further pursue the issue legally,” he said. “We will respond to them at an appropriate time.

On Thursday night, U.S. warplanes operating illegally in Syria conducted aggressive maneuvering close to an Iranian Mahan Air flight over Syria’s al-Tanf region. 

Mahan Air’s Flight 1152 had taken off from Tehran and was en route to the Lebanese capital Beirut when the incident happened.

Iran said harassing a passenger plane is a violation of the principles of international law.

“The harassment of the Iranian passenger plane by U.S. warplanes constitutes a clear violation of international law as well as aviation standards and regulations,” Iran Civil Aviation Organization said in a statement.

It also urged the ICAO to look into the issue as soon as possible.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday denounced the harassment of the passenger plane, calling on the international community to stop the U.S. “outlaws” before a disaster happens. 

“[the] U.S. illegally occupies territory of another State and then harasses a scheduled civil airliner—endangering innocent civilian passengers—ostensibly to protect its occupation forces. Audacity to compound lawlessness upon lawlessness. These outlaws must be stopped before disaster,” Zarif tweeted.

Extension of arms embargo ‘unacceptable’: Mousavi

During his Monday press conference, Mousavi was also asked to comment on Washington’s efforts to extend an arms embargo on Iran. 

“We knew that the U.S. will spare no efforts in this path and everybody knows how Washington has pressured the permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council.”

Iran has told all members of the UN Security Council and its friends that the extension of the arms embargo would be “unacceptable”, he said.

The spokesman said Iranian officials do not think other countries would succumb to the U.S. bullying.

“We hope the U.S. pressure ends,” he said. “Iran is striving to secure its right.”

In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and later adopted a “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.

Although it is no longer a party to the JCPOA, the U.S. is currently exerting pressure on the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo against Iran, which will expire under the deal in October.

Tehran has firmly rejected Washington’s plans, stating that the U.S. is no longer a party to the nuclear deal ever since it withdrew from the multilateral agreement.

China and Russia have supported Iran's position.

Amid the escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington, Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, has tried to appeal to the Iranian people, claiming in a recent video that President Trump is beside the Iranian people and backs their fight for justice.

“This regime has completely lost its legitimacy,” the VOA Persian on Saturday quoted Hook as saying.

“Iranian people should know that President Trump, [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo and I will always stand by them in their fight for justice,” Hook claimed.

 ‘Hook talks nonsense, wanders around hopelessly’ 

Asked to comment on Hook’s remarks as well as his recent West Asia tour, Mousavi said the U.S. special representative talks a lot. “He talks nonsense, and on the other hand, he has resorted to wandering around hopelessly due to the U.S.’s conditions and his illusions.”

Calling Hook’s claim of solidarity with Iranian people “ridiculous”, the spokesman said, “The reality is that the U.S. president is against the Iranian nation.” 

“How can he claim that he stands by the Iranian people while the U.S. president has taken measures against every single Iranian person with his maximum pressure, economic terrorism, and closing down the legal channels of importing medicine and equipment for chronically ill children?” he asked.

Mousavi added, “Is he standing by Iranian people when he has, like a bully, pulled out of the nuclear agreement and put pressure on the Iranian nation?”

He also pointed to the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani on January 3, saying, “The American [rulers] are those who cowardly martyred and assassinated the greatest national hero in the fight against terrorism.”

“There’s no doubt that Hook’s comments are baseless and unfounded,” he added.

MH/PA

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