The Middle East Channel

News Brief: Iran plane crash kills at least 77 people

Iran plane crash kills at least 77 people IranAir Boeing 727, a flight from Tehran which was carrying 104 passengers, crashed near the city of Orumiyeh and killed at least 77 people. At least two passengers are still missing, while 26 others have been injured. Ahmad Majidi, head of the road and transport ministry’s crisis ...

Iran plane crash kills at least 77 people

IranAir Boeing 727, a flight from Tehran which was carrying 104 passengers, crashed near the city of Orumiyeh and killed at least 77 people. At least two passengers are still missing, while 26 others have been injured. Ahmad Majidi, head of the road and transport ministry’s crisis panel, said the plane had to turn around and head back to Tehran because of bad weather. “Based on the evidence, the plane’s captain could not land at Orumiyeh airport due to bad weather conditions and he decided to return,” said Majidi. “But for unknown reasons the plane crashed around five miles (8km) from the airport.” Early reports show the Boeing was delivered to IranAir in 1974 and was the oldest passenger aircraft still operating in Iran; A U.S.-made aircraft, it has been out of production since 1984. “This plane has been one of these very old kind of aircraft that are still serving in Iran’s airlines — a Boeing 727, which is more than 40 years old,” said Al Jazeera’s Alireza Ronaghi. Aircraft accidents are not uncommon in Iran, where international sanctions have prevented the country from buying new aircraft parts from the West.

  • Secretary Clinton urges Gulf states to keep their focus on Iran.
  • 20 policemen killed in South Sudan by government-backed Northern militia.
  • Algeria vows to punish its protesters.
  • U.S. says sanctions have hurt Iran’s nuclear program.
  • Hariri asks the UN to put pressure on Israel.
  • Hamas urges militant groups to stop Gaza rockets. 

Daily Snapshot

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks to members of the Saudi-owned MBC satellite television channel, including Lebanon’s star presenter George Qardahi (in black suit-C) during her visit to the Zayed University in Abu Dhabi on January 10, 2011. The United Arab Emirates is the first leg of Clinton’s Gulf tour which will also take her to Oman and Qatar (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Arguments & Analysis
‘And no one wants to know’: Israeli soldiers on the occupation (David Shulman, NYRB)
The author records his impressions of the new 431 page book from the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which documents reflections from the military service of IDF members over the past decade. His takeaway: “But it is not only the soldiers and the policemen and the judges and the bureaucrats who pay a personal price, along with their Palestinian victims. As the Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz predicted forty-three years ago, the occupation has brutalized Israeli society as a whole and eroded the moral foundation of our very existence. If there is still hope for Israel, it lies with those remnants of the peace camp that remain active and, in particular, with groups such as Breaking the Silence, who offer a taste of the bitter, but perhaps ultimately healing, truth.”

‘Independence beckons’ (The Economist)
Yesterday, South Sudan began voting in a referendum that will very likely see Africa’s largest country break into two halves. Yet even if the process remains less violent than some have predicted, the road ahead remains fraught with potential danger and discord. To wit: “The government sounds increasingly confident as the referendum draws near. But a smooth transition is another matter. Before declaring independence, scheduled for July 9th, north and south must finalise a separation agreement. A formula must be found for sharing the oil revenue from jointly operated fields. A method must be devised for joint control of disputed areas such as oil-rich Abyei, which lies on the border between north and south and which is not having its own referendum, as mandated in the 2005 peace accord.”

‘Israeli left reawakens after death of Palestinian protesters’ (Tony Karon, The National)
Thought the Israeli left has largely been dormant since the end of the 2nd intifada, the rightward shift in Israel’s political class of late has ushered in a sort of a mini-renaissance in the community. Though still on the margins of society, recent events including the death of Palestinian non-violent protester Jawaher Abu Rameh and ongoing non-violent protests have turned the Israeli dissident class into more than a minor annoyance for government authorities. The effect? “But even if they [Israeli dissidents] cannot change the reality of the occupation, there is one reality that those Israelis going to Bilin and Sheikh Jarrah have already succeeded in changing: for thousands of young Palestinians in those areas, it will never again be true that the only Israelis they have ever known are soldiers and settlers. That, in itself, is a precious investment in a future free of hate.”

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