A recent BBC online article about the crash of a Russian-built plane in Iran included a disgraceful attempt by the BBC’s Tehran correspondent Frances Harrison to blame the accident on US sanctions. After bloggers such as myself drew attention to this, the offending section was quietly removed by the BBC (see before and after screen caps here
). Harrison obviously took offence because she's been at it again, this time on the World Service’s Newshour
This seems to be part of a wider drive by the BBC to undermine any talk of action, sanctions or otherwise, against Iran. Here’s Harrison’s BBC colleague Julian Marshall introducing her report:
Washington talks about smart sanctions which target the government and not the Iranian people, but Iran has already been under American sanctions for three decades and every year Iranian civilians die as an indirect result. Current US sanctions prevent Iran buying new planes or spare parts for their ageing fleet. Since 2000 there have been 9 plane crashes killing nearly 700 people.
Well, here are all the Iranian plane crashes since 2000 that I could find on planecrashinfo.com
. I make it 11 (not 9) if one includes the Ukrainian plane crash in December 2002, which the BBC usually does:
February 02, 2000 Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Military training. 8 dead.
May 17, 2001 Yakovlev YAK-40 Faraz Qeshm Airlines. 30 dead.
The aircraft crashed into mountains about 12 miles south of Sari, 55 minutes after taking off from Tehran on a flight to Gorgan. Shortly before the tower lost contact with the plane the pilot reported bad weather and said he was thinking of returning to Tehran.
February 12, 2002 Tupolev TU-154 Iran Air Tours. 117 dead.
Crashed against the side of a mountain in heavy fog in the Sefid Kouh mountain range while on approach to Khorramabad. The plane was totally destroyed and scattered in small pieces across the mountain. Pilot error.
December 23, 2002 Antonov AN-140 Aeromist-Kharkiv (Ukrainian) 44 dead (46 according to the BBC)
The Ukrainian passenger plane, crashed in a mountainous area 70 km from Isfanan, after losing contact with ground controllers as it prepared to land. Improper use of the Global Positioning System by the pilot.
February 19, 2003 Ilyushin Il-76MD. Military. 275 dead (BBC = 302)
The plane crashed into an 11,500 ft. mountain in poor weather, about 20 miles from its destination of Kerman.
June 25, 2003 Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Military. 7 dead.
Nose dived into the ground shortly after takeoff near the Shur River.
February 10, 2004 Fokker F-50. Kish Airlines. 43 dead.
The aircraft crashed on approach, 2 miles short of the runway while attempting an emergency landing at Sharjah. The plane crashed midway between two residential compounds. The flight data recorder showed that the two engines went into reverse 10 seconds before the accident.
April 20, 2005 Boeing B-707-3J9C Saha Airline Services. 3 dead.
Soon after experiencing a hard landing an engine began burning while the aircraft was taxiing. The plane then skidded off the runway and fell into the Kan River. One passengers' infant fell into the river and drowned while exiting the aircraft.
December 06, 2005 Lockheed C-130B Hercules. Military. 94 dead (68 journalists), plus 14 civilians dead on the ground.
The military plane crashed into an apartment building in the Azari district after taking off from Mehrabad Airport. The plane suffered engine failure and was attempting to return for a emergency landing.
January 09, 2006 Dassault Falcon 20. Military. 11 dead.
After a flyby to check on a stuck landing gear, the plane suffered a double engine flame-out and crashed into a field in poor weather conditions.
September 01, 2006 Tupolev Tu-154M. Iran Air Tours. 29 dead.
The plane's left wing may have come into contact with the ground causing the plane to skid off the runway and catch fire.
Julian Marshall gave the clear impression that since the year 2000 nearly 700 Iranian civilians have died in air crashes as a result of American sanctions. I have identified 11 crashes with a wide variety of causes resulting in 675 deaths. Of these accidents, five were in American-built planes, and only one of those was a civilian flight in which just 3 civilians
died, including a child who fell in a river exiting the plane. Nearly all the deaths involving US-built aircraft were crashes of military planes. Some civilians died in these accidents, but America is under no obligation to aid the armed forces of a terror-supporting state, regardless of what the BBC thinks. Of the other crashes, one involved a European-built Fokker, the parts for which are now manufactured by a Dutch
company, and the rest were Russian-built aircraft.
If oil-rich Iran can't sort out its own aircraft, civilian and military, that's its fault alone. Blaming US sanctions is cheap anti-American propaganda. And it's bullshit, too.
[I can't be bothered to fisk Frances Harrison’s actual report. The opening line should tell you all you need to know:
“If you want to see the cost of sanctions, it’s in Tehran’s main cemetery that you have to look…”]