Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sabotage Suspected in Air Crash in Iran

A Russian-made Caspian Airline jet crashed in Iran near Qazvin, on Wednesday July 15, killing all the 168 on board the aircraft. The exact circumstances of the crash is still shrouded in mystery and the subject of conflicting speculations by local and national aviation authorities.

In the initial round of press briefing on the aftermath the crash, ISNA (Iranian Student's News Agency) quoted Reza Ghadimi, general aviation manager at Imam Khomeini's International Airport, that "there were no known mechanical failure in connection with the plane during or before the flight and we don't have any confirmation of the pilot issuing any reports of malfunction."

Ghadimi refused to elaborate on whether or not the cause of the crash was due to an explosion. He maintained that substantiating evidence for the latter is the subject of an ongoing investigation and neither confirmed nor denied the possibility. Additional reports reflecting the assessment of other aviation authorities such as the one by Mehr News also indicated no confirmations of mechanical failure before or after the flight.

Conflicting Information

This version of the incident is contrasted against the concurrent claims of Qazvin's security office agent who maintained the plane has had technical difficulties and was in flight toward Zanjan and Tabriz for an emergency landing. According to Sirous Saberi, as the effort failed, the pilot changed the flight path back toward Tehran, where the deadly incident took place.

It is suspected that the event may have a connection with the recent appointment of Ahmadinejad's handpicked yes-man to a top aviation post. Ali Ilkhani who was appointed to the aviation post recently has a demonstrated history of involvements with the pro-regime's security sectors and was previously employed in the capacity of a security consultant for the aviation agency. He was appointed to a key aviation authority post shortly before Ahmadinejad's highly disputed re-appointment to presidency.

Some believe the timing of the event may be used as a distracting time bomb to divert public attention from the highly anticipated Friday prayer by Rafsanjani, who was a pro-mousavi backer and has been absent from the weekly friday prayer in Tehran since the election.

-Iran Press News