By Zeinab Awada

Media didn't pay attention to humanitarian aspects of the harassment against Iranian plane

July 29, 2020 - 21:51

In the latest escalation between the United States and Iran, two American fighters intercepted an Iranian passenger plane over Syria. The harassment led to the injury of some passengers. 

The Iranian plane, belonging to Mahan Air, was heading from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday when the pilot staged a safety maneuver to avoid collision.  Iran's Foreign Ministry has said it will investigate harassment.

Legally, if we want to know which country should follow up on the file of the plane harassment, we must first determine who was the target and which side's interest was threatened. The main target was the plane belonging to an Iranian airline. The second side was Syria, as its airspace was violated. Lebanon has a stake as well. The plane was heading to Beirut, and most of its passengers were Lebanese.

 Iran and Syria have to file a formal complaint against the U.S. administration because what happened is an assault, a criminal act, and international bullying. According to international law, those injured in the plane have the right to submit a complaint to the UN Security Council.

I doubt the complaint would produce the required result due to the American political pressure; however, Iran knows how to react and defend its interests in some way to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.

 Moreover, every Lebanese who was aboard the plane has the right to submit a complaint about an attempt by the U.S. warplanes to kill him in the Syrian sky. 
I believe that the personal complaint will take tangible results for humanitarian considerations, while political pressure may not be effective to prevent a condemnation of the U.S.

It is significant that what happened came in conjunction with the memory of the downing of an Iranian airliner by USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz.

Is this timing a coincidence, or does it carry a message of threatening Iran to repeat such an incident that took the lives of 290 passengers, including 66 children and 16 crew members?

Contrary to the Iranian response, the Lebanese reaction was shy. No decisive official stance was expressed to condemn what the passengers were exposed to, knowing that most of the travelers were Lebanese.

And if we assume that the passengers had been Iranian, the concerned officials in Lebanon should have condemned endangering the lives of civilians in a plane heading to our country (Lebanon)!!

The official Lebanese reactions were not proportionate to the level of what these Lebanese citizens suffered. Among them were our friends.

They told us how their heads had hit the roof of the plane during the change in altitude and how they felt close to death in the darkness of the sky, but God miraculously saved them! 

If we turned the roles and Iran had harassed a plane coming to Beirut, would have we seen this official silence?! The question is directed to those who cannot say 'No' to the American master.

While the U.S. acknowledged that its warplanes came close to the passenger plane, it was an American-Israeli operation, or at least they have used an Israeli trick.  

Initially, it was reported that Israeli fighters had intercepted an Iranian civilian plane before the United States acknowledged that its fighters had conducted some maneuvering close to the Mahan Air flight, claiming that it was "at a safe distance."

At the same time, it is the same method that Israeli aircraft adopted with the Russian plane that was shot down by the Syrian air defense after they succeeded in misleading it.

The same thing would have happened and the claim of "safe distance" is a big lie.  Witnesses on the board say, "The sound barrier was so strong, and American fighters surrounded us from all sides. It was like trying to hijack the plane."

The other point that should be clarified in this harassment operation is timing. Israel has benefited from this incident by diverting attention from the crime it committed in Syria a few days ago, during which it martyred one of Hezbollah members.

Perhaps Israel thought that this distraction would prevent Hezbollah's response by targeting the main supporter of the Resistance in the region (Iran).

I believe that the Americans and the Israelis exchanged roles in this operation, which was aimed to deliver a message to Hezbollah that Israel can target Iran and any other country whenever they want.

Nevertheless, in the media, the incident did not get the required attention up to the degree of the danger and the aggression that the plane's passengers were subjected to.

 Unfortunately, human sympathy with the injured passengers was confined to people who were affiliated to the Axis of the Resistance. 

This incident has an important human dimension as we were on the verge of a massacre in the sky.

On the arrival of the plane to Beirut’s airport, there was no media coverage because the event had not been reported widely.

Indeed, it was reported just after the incident was politicized, and various media outlets covered it according to their relationship with Iran and not on the degree of the shock.

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