The Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on March 5 that it thwarted a plot to hijack a plane en-route from the southwestern city of Ahvaz to Mashhad in northeast Iran.
“A conspiracy to hijack a Fokker 100 aircraft belonging to Iran Air … which had taken off from Ahvaz airport to the holy city of Mashhad at 22:10 hours Thursday night was neutralized with the vigilance of the IRGC’s flight security team,” the IRGC said in a statement.
The flight made an emergency landing in the central city of Isfahan. The hijacker was arrested. All passengers were safe and traveled to their destination on an alternative flight.
According to the IRGC, the hijackers intended to land the airliner at an airport in a Gulf state. Iranian authorities are currently investigating the “dimensions and angles of the conspiracy” of the dangerous incident.
The hijacker’s intentions indicate that politics may have been the motive behind the plot. Most Gulf states, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE, stand with the US and Israel against Tehran. It is unclear, however, if any of these states would go as far as facilitating a plot to hijack a civilian airliner.
Had it succeeded, the plot would have provoked a serious crisis between Iran and its Arab neighbors in the Persian Gulf. This may have been the goal of the hijackers.
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