Tehran has reacted strongly to a recent near-miss between an Iranian commercial jet and US fighters, calling it an act of “air terrorism” and promising to respond decisively to such “mischiefs.”

On July 25, as Mahan Airlines’ Airbus A310 was en route from Tehran to Beirut, Iran said a pair of US F-15 fighter jets approached the aircraft in Syrian airspace.

The Airbus ultimately touched down safely in Beirut but several passengers were slightly injured when its pilot rapidly changed altitude to avoid a midair collision. The Pentagon later said only one jet was sent to perform a “visual inspection.”

President Hassan Rouhani called on the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Security Council, the United Nations and all countries to respond to the US act of “air terrorism.” 

The incident was “mischief of the US government,” Rouhani said on Wednesday, vowing to “give them a decisive response.”

Rouhani pointed out that it wasn’t the first time the US targeted an Iranian plane. In July 1988, an IranAir Airbus en route from Tehran to Dubai was shot down by a US Navy ship-to-air missile, killing 290 people on board. US President Ronald Reagan expressed “deep regret” at the time over the tragic mistake.

Tehran sees the encounter over Syria as a part of a wider “conspiracy” that the US has been plotting against Iran. In particular, Rouhani pointed to US attempts to override UN Security Council resolution 2231. The resolution, adopted in 2015, endorses freezing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions from Tehran.

In 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and re-imposed US sanctions against Iran, causing widespread international criticism. 

According to Rouhani, the US behaves like this because it has been “defeated by Iran several times.” He added that Iran’s enemies are busy seeking to destroy the country’s economy but they are failing to do so.

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