- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2020

A recent U.S. operation involving an F-15 flying near an Iranian passenger airliner over Syria was slammed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday who said the situation endangered “innocent civilian passengers.”

U.S. officials on Thursday confirmed the jet’s flight and maintained that the operation was conducted safely.

“The visual inspection occurred to ensure the safety of coalition personnel at At Tanf garrison. Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. “The professional intercept was conducted in accordance with international standards.”

But Mr. Zarif later tweeted that the U.S. “harasses a scheduled civil airliner — endangering innocent civilian passengers — ostensibly to protect its occupation forces.”

“Audacity to compound lawlessness upon lawlessness,” he continued. “These outlaws must be stopped before disaster.”

Iranian state television reported Thursday that an Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday was “harassed” by fighter jets. A Lebanese airport official said the flight, Mahan Air Flight 1152, landed regularly in Beirut on Thursday evening.

This story is based in part on wire reports.

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