The US Air Force Boeing 707 carrying President Carter's national-secu rity adviser, Zbigniew Brzenzinski, and Assistant Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher from Islamabad, Pakistan, to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was buzzed by an American-built Iranian F-14 fighter jet, Monitor contributor James Dorsey reports.
Only the cockpit crew actually saw the Iranian aircraft, however. After the incident, Dr. Brzezinski was handed a note marked "for Brzenzinski eyes only." In the note the pilot of the US Air Force plane said, "We were intercepted by an Iranian F-14." He added, "The jet crossed under our aircraft and flew loose formation off our left side."
The Iranian jet broke off after about two minutes. Air Force personnel on board the American plane assumed that the jet came from Chah Bahar, an Iranian air base on the Arabian Sea.
US officials on board the US plane described the incident as "a clear violation of international air room." They said they believed Iran wished to demonstrate its ability not only to localize the US plane, but also to intercept it. "They wanted to demonstrate that they also could have done something else to our plane," one official said.