- The Washington Times - Monday, May 13, 2002

TEHRAN (AP) Security officers on an Iranian airliner overpowered a man threatening to explode two homemade bombs tied under his clothes, foiling an attempt to hijack the domestic flight, Iran's official news agency reported yesterday.
The would-be hijacker, who cited economic problems, also told the crew he would set his alcohol-soaked clothes on fire with a lighter unless he was allowed to enter the plane's cockpit, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted Revolutionary Guard aviation officials as saying.
The Russian-made Tupolev Tu-145 with 138 persons on board was flying from Kerman in southeastern Iran to the capital of Tehran on Saturday.
IRNA quoted the head of the Iranian airports security office, Brig. Hossein Khaleqi, as saying the hijacker was outsmarted by security guards who calmed him before overpowering him and arresting him.
"In preliminary investigation, the hijacker has cited economic problems as his motive for the hijacking, but more probes are under way," Mr. Khaleqi added.
Iranian passenger planes have carried plainclothes Revolutionary Guards agents since a spate of hijackings in the 1980s by Iraq-based rebels.


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