Jul 25, 2020, 11:14 AM
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Syrian envoy says US accountable for threatening Iranian passenger plane
Syria's Permanent Representative at the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari (Archive)

New York, July 25, IRNA - Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari said on Friday that the US should be held accountable for threatening Iranian passenger plane.

"..., if we don't call them accountable to this act, they will repeat it again," al-Jaafari told IRNA in an online interview in New York.

Iran's Mahan Air passenger plane was on route to Beirut, Lebanon, when it was threatened by two American fighter jets on Syrian airspace on Thursday night (July 23).

Civil Aviation Organization of Iran has lodged protest with International Civil Aviation Organization over the US aggression on Iranian passenger plane which made some of the passengers and crew wounded.

Asked why the US is threatening other nations while it claims that its presence in Syria is to combat terrorist group of Daesh (ISIS), the envoy said the presence of US forces in Syria is "an illegal occupation."

So, "it is not a presence, it is an occupation" in accordance with the international law, the ambassador added.

Al-Jaafari said that all US acts, which include jeopardizing safety of civil airliner or jeopardizing the safety of the Syrian people or helping the terrorists expand terrorist acts through Syrian territory, are illegal and should be condemned.

He further said "condemnation actually is a legal term but it is not enough to qualify exactly the aggressive act represented by the American occupation of part of a Syrian territory."

"Here we can understand much better what they did yesterday to the Iranian civilian airliner of Mahan Air company," he said describing such act as "the American aggressive policy towards the Iranian civilian airliner."

"This act was a double criminal act," and was not done accidentally but due to "cowboy mentality" of the United States, he stated.

As the ambassador stressed, "it wasn't only addressed towards violating the Syrian sovereignty, but it was also jeopardizing the safety of civilian airlines crossing the Syrian airspace."

"This act number one was violation of international law, violation of Chicago Convention" to which the United States is an integrated party, the Syrian envoy noted.

Chicago Convention, a Convention on International Civil Aviation signed by 54 states at Chicago on December 7, 1944, was established to promote cooperation and “create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world,” according to ICAO.

"They didn't even respect their own commitments towards the safety of the civilian airlines," he said while referring to Chicago Convention signed in the Unites States.

"This is not the first time that they are threatening the safety of the Iranian passengers," he said, pointing to the year of 1988 when they [American forces] shut down the Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf and killed 290.

The Syrian envoy stressed that incidents should not be forgotten, because "If we don't hold them accountable to this act, they will repeat it again."

He appreciated the speech made by Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi to the UN Security Council on Thursday for describing the US unilateral sanctions against the Syrian people as shameful.

Al-Jaafari thanked Iran for stressing that all foreign forces whose presence is not permitted by the Syrian government must leave the Syrian territory.

Syria has been suffering from unrest and terrorist acts since March 2011.

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