Tuesday, January 04, 2005

U.S. jets violate Iran’s airspace- Reports

U.S. jets violate Iran’s airspace- Reports

Several press reports suggested that planes were spying on Iran’s nuclear sites

U.S. warplanes, flying out of bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, flew over Iranian air space, apparently to spy on nuke sites, according to Iranian press reports.

Aftab newspaper reported that the latest U.S. violation to Iran’s air space was on Saturday, when a U.S. warplane flew at low altitude over Khorosan province which borders Afghanistan.

Other press reports cited intrusion by F-16 and F-18 fighters over the southwestern province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq.

Several press reports suggested that those planes were spying on Iran’s nuclear sites.

However, the U.S. military didn’t comment on the reports. But one official, who asked not to be named said he would not be surprised if those reports were authentic.

"The circular maneuvering of the two American fighters indicated them as carrying out spying sorties and controlling the borders," said an Iranian official.

No further details were immediately available.

Last month Iranian army chief, General Mohammad Salimi, said that Iran’s army, led by the air force, has been ordered to stand ready to defend the country against any military strike targeting it nuclear sites.

"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, using all its power," General Salimi was quoted as saying.

Also Iranian air force chief, Brig. Karim Qavami, ordered his forces last week to shoot down any aircraft violating the country's airspace.

"Given that the intrusion of enemy aircraft over Iran's airspace is possible, all fighter jets of the country have been ordered by the army chief to shoot them down in the event of sighting them," he said.

Washington claims that Iran is covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons, leading to speculation over the possibility of military strikes.

But Iran has repeatedly denied those claims, asserting that its nuclear program was solely aimed as peaceful purposes like power generation.

In August, five U.S. jets were reported to have entered the Iranian airspace from the southwestern Shalamcheh border and over flew Khorramshahr.

Some military specialists say that those intrusions are aimed at assessing Iran's anti-aircraft defenses capabilities.

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