US denies military plane forced down by Iran (Lead)

October 8th, 2008 - 1:19 am ICT by IANS  

Washington/Tehran, Oct 7 (DPA) The US denied reports Tuesday that a military plane carrying senior US officers was forced to land in Iran, following conflicting reports by Iranian media about an airspace violation.”We have no reports at all of any US military aircraft or any other US military personnel flying in any aircraft that was forced to land in Iran,” said Lieutenant Commander William Speaks, a spokesman for Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East.

“There is nothing to (these reports) at all,” he said from the Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

Various Iranian media reported conflicting accounts of an incident involving a plane that Tehran says violated Iranian airspace. One report by the official Fars agency said the plane was carrying five US generals, and a second by a television station said the plane was Hungarian and on an aid mission.

Hungary’s Foreign Ministry is unaware of “any aid plane or crew” landing in Iran, spokesman Lajos Szelestey said.

“We have no idea, at the time being, what this is about,” he said Tuesday.

The Tehran-based Arabic-language satellite television channel al-Alam quoted an unnamed official as saying that the plane did not belong to the Americans but was carrying US officers and was allowed Monday to continue to Afghanistan.

A second unnamed official later told al-Alam there were no Americans on board. Instead the plane was Hungarian, and the incident took place in late September rather than in recent days, the official said.

The Fars report said it was a Falcon business jet.

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