[Ed. – Mahan Air is involved constantly in ferrying prohibited arms shipments around Mesopotamia and the Levant. The U.S. describes this as a “visual inspection,” which is certainly one way of putting it. It’s also a warning. Iran is building up a presence at Al-Bukamal on the Syria-Iraq border, and is persisting in attempts to arm Iranian militia forces in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a signal: especially capable in a ground interdiction role, this one (presumably there were two) tipped its hat and said gently, “We know where you live – and where you drop your stuff off.”]
“The Americans are trying all types of banditry, and have shifted from maritime banditry to aerial one,” said foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.
“The Iranian foreign ministry will definitely take all necessary measures, together with the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Judiciary, and Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, to make the Americans regret this episode,” he said.
U.S. Central Command confirmed that a U.S. F-15 on a routine patrol had conducted “a standard visual inspection” of the Iranian aircraft, saying it had kept “a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters [3,280 feet] from the airliner.”
The U.S. Treasury in 2011 sanctioned Mahan Air for “providing financial, material and technological support to” the IRGC-Qods Force, and also for transporting “personnel, weapons and goods on behalf of Hezbollah,” Iran’s Lebanese terrorist proxy which, like the IRGC, is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.