Dec. 25, 2004 13:49 | Updated Dec. 26, 2004 1:33
Iran's air force has been ordered to shoot down any unknown or suspicious flying objects in Iran's airspace, an air force spokesman said Saturday, amid state-media reports of sightings of flying objects near Iran's nuclear installations.
"All anti-aircraft units and jet fighters have been ordered to shoot down the flying objects over Iran's airspace," spokesman of the Regular Army Air Force Colonel Salman Mahini said.
Flying object fever has gripped Iran after dozens of reported sightings in the summer and in recent weeks. State-run media has reported sightings of unknown objects flying over parts of Iran where nuclear facilities are located.
"The unidentified flying objects could be satellites, comets or spying or reconnaissance crafts trying to monitor Iran's nuclear installations," Mahini said.
"Flights of unknown objects in the country's airspace have increased in recent weeks ... (they) have been seen over Bushehr and Isfahan provinces," the daily Resalat reported Saturday. There are nuclear facilities in both provinces.
The timing of the reported increase in sightings, which comes as the United States is urging allies to confront Iran over its nuclear program, has strengthened Iranian public perceptions that the objects are surveillance or hostile aircrafts monitoring Iran.