Mystery US jet spotted at Iran airport
New York, April 19, 2014
Mystery surrounds a private jet bearing an American flag on its tail that was spotted at an airport in Tehran, an oddity considering the fact that the US is not doing business with Iran.
The reason for the plane being in Tehran and the plane's passenger were both, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
According to the New York Times, which reported spotting the plane, its mysterious passenger is determined to keep his identity unknown.
The plane, which was spotted in Tehran on Tuesday, appears to be owned by the Bank of Utah, "a community bank in Ogden that has 13 branches throughout the state," according to the Times.
The report, written by Michael Corkery, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Thomas Erdbrink, said the plane's reason for being in Iran, a country where nearly all US business activities are prohibited, is unknown.
It's possible that the jet acquired a clearance from the US Commerce Department to touch down in Iran. But current trade rules in the US would have made that extremely difficult, according to the report.
"Even some former federal officials," the Times reported, "said the very presence of an American-flagged aircraft parked in broad daylight suggested its flight had been approved as part of a legitimate business trip. What is more, they said, the easily identifiable plane was not likely to be part of a covert diplomatic mission."
When pressed for details about the passenger, Mehrabad Airport officials would only say that he was a "VIP", according to the report.
The plane's tail number was spotted in Zurich at around the time that the Swiss city hosted the annual World Economic Forum, it said.
Later, in October 2013, the same tail number popped up again in Ghana.
Brett King, a Bank of Utah executive in Salt Lake City, said he is as confused as everyone else by the plane's presence in Iran.
"We have no idea why that plane was at that airport," he said.
He vowed that the bank would investigate the issue and try to get some answers.
"The Bank of Utah is very conservative, and located in the conservative state of Utah," he told the paper. "If there is any hint of illegal activity, we are going to find out and see whether we need to resign" as trustee.
The report said even Iranian officials declined to comment on the purpose of the plane's visit or passengers' identities.
A spokesman for Iran's United Nations mission in New York, Hamid Babaei, was quoted as saying: "We don't have any information in this regard." "I refer you to the owner." – TradeArabia News Service