(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - A chartered aircraft carrying about 100 Americans from the US airbase at Bagram, Afghanistan, has landed safely in Dubai after being diverted to Iran because of issues with its flight plan, the US State Department said on Friday.
The Fly Dubai
plane took off earlier from Bandar Abbas
, Iran, after being rerouted there. A US official said the plane had failed to update its flight plan after leaving Bagram
several hours late.
When Iranian civil aviation officials identified the plane, they could not find it in their system because it was supposed to have flown through hours earlier, the official said.
Iranian officials first asked it to turn around and then to land at Bandar Abbas
when told it did not have enough fuel to return to Afghanistan
, the official said.
In a statement saying the plane had landed in Dubai
, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf
said that contrary to some media reports, "No Iranian jets were scrambled in this situation.
"We appreciate the efforts of all parties to help the passengers get safely to their destination," she added.
Washington and Tehran
have had an antagonistic relationship for decades. The United States
cut diplomatic ties with
Iran in April 1980, five months after Iranian students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran
and took US citizens hostage. Fifty-two Americans were ultimately held for 444 days.
The two countries are now at odds over the Iranian nuclear program, which Washington suspects is aimed at building a bomb but which
Iran says is for strictly civilian purposes.
Washington, which has spearheaded sanctions against Tehran
for its refusal to give up sensitive uranium enrichment work, is negotiating with other major powers to try to get
Iran to curb its nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.