Iran asks UN to hold US accountable for plane interception

The Iranian passenger plane was flying over Syria when this happened. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 August 2020

Iran asks UN to hold US accountable for plane interception

  • Iran’s UN ambassador said the plane “had to change altitude abruptly, causing injuries to the passengers onboard”
  • US official said the US fighter jets “conducted a standard visual inspection” of the Iranian plane “at a safe distance”

UNITED NATIONS: Iran is urging the United Nations to hold the United States accountable for the interception of an Iranian passenger plane by two US fighter jets in the skies over Syria last month, which it called an “unlawful” and an “adventuristic act.”
Iran’s UN ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said in identical letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council circulated Friday that Iran “expresses its strongest objections against this violation of international law and will pursue the issue through relevant international bodies.”
Ravanchi said a Mahan Airlines Airbus A310 en route from Tehran to Beirut on July 23 “was aggressively and unexpectedly intercepted” by two US F-15 fighter jets while traveling through internationally specified air corridors in Syria’s airspace.
“In reaction to the offensive and hazardous manouverings of the United States fighter jets and in order to save the civil aircraft and passengers’ lives, the airliner had to change altitude abruptly, causing injuries to the passengers onboard,” the ambassador said.
US Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesman, told The Associated Press at the time of the incident that a US F-15 “conducted a standard visual inspection” of the Iranian plane “at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) from the airliner.”
He said the inspection was meant to ensure the safety of US coalition troops in Al-Tanf in Syria as the plane was flying over that area. He said once the aircraft was identified as a passenger plane, “the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft.”
The Iranian ambassador said that in line with provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Iran’s civil aviation organization contacted Syrian authorities and called for “a prompt and accurate investigation of the incident.” He said Iranian authorities also launched an investigation after the plane returned from Beirut.
The results of both investigations will be released “after the revision and finalization of the collected data and information” by both teams, Ravanchi said.
“It is obvious that the act by the United States fighter jets is a flagrant violation of the aviation security and freedom of civil aviation reflected in the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and its relevant annexes as well as an infringement of the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation,” he said.
Ravanchi said: “It is incumbent upon the United Nations to reject such an unlawful and yet adventuristic act and hold the United States accountable for this irresponsible behavior.”


Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

Updated 26 October 2020

Libya’s NOC lifts force majeure on El-Feel oilfield

  • NOC said it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day within two weeks

BENGHAZI: Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) said on Monday it had lifted force majeure on the El-Feel oilfield and that by doing so it had ended all the closures of oilfields and ports that resulted from an eight-month blockade by eastern forces.
NOC said on Friday it expected its total oil output to reach 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) within two weeks and 1 million bpd within four weeks after lifting force majeure on the ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.
The blockade was imposed in January by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and ended in September when he agreed to reopen oil facilities after talks with members of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
NOC has been gradually lifting force majeure in facilities where fighters no longer remained and restarting production in them.
On Sunday a first tanker in eight months docked at Al-Zawiya port and began loading, an engineer there said, after force majeure was lifted last week on Sharara, Libya’s biggest oilfield.
Al-Waha Oil Co, an NOC company, also said on Sunday a first tanker was bound for Es Sider and may dock there early on Tuesday.
Force majeure refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract, in this case NOC, from meeting its obligations.