UFO dog-fight over Tehran

Date: September 18-19, 1976
Location: Tehran, Iran
Appearance: Rectangular, 7 to 8 m long and 2 m wide
Classification: CE 2
Sources: Gen. Nader Yousefi; Gen. Mahmoud Sabahat; DIA (USA)
Summary: UFO over Tehran, chased by F-4 Phantom II jets

On the night of September 18, 1976, several calls were received by the Control Tower at Mehrabad Airport, reporting an unknown object hovering 1000 feet (300 m) above the ground in the northern section of Tehran. The night shift supervisor, Hossain Perouzi, observed the UFO with binoculars:

"Suddenly I saw it. It was rectangular in shape, probably seven to eight meters [24 to 27 ft] long and about two meters [7 ft] wide. From later observations I made, I would say it was probably cylindrical. The two ends were pulsating with a whitish blue color. Around the mid-section of the cylinder there was this small red light that kept going around in a circle."

Two U.S.-made F-4 Phantom II jet fighters of the Imperial Iranian Air Force were scrambled, but as the pilots closed in on the target, their communications and weapons systems were jammed.

The incident was confirmed by high ranking officers of the Iranian Air Force and later documented by several agencies of the U.S. military. General Nader Yousefi, Base Operations commander and the number three man in the Imperial Iranian Air Force, authorized a scramble mission and was also an eyewitness, as described in a TV interview:

"I put down my phone [with the Control Tower] and I ran to my balcony to see if I can see that object. I saw a big star among the other stars, which it was at least twice as large as the normal stars... It was around 12 miles [19 km], we lost communication and I heard nothing from the pilots, so I was so scared what's going to happen and what happened to the pilots. I asked from the tower controller to tell them to continue their mission and see if they can get more information from the flying object."

The DAO memorandum describes the events of the second scramble:

"The size of the radar return was comparable to that of a Boeing 707 tanker. The visual size of the object was difficult to discern because of its intense brilliance. The light that it gave off was that of flashing strobe lights arranged in a rectangular pattern of alternating blue, green, red and orange, in color. The sequence of the lights was so fast that all the colors could be seen at once."

The object and the pursuing F-4 continued a course to the south of Tehran when another brightly lighted object, estimated to be .5 to .33 the apparent size of the moon, came out of the original object. The second object headed straight toward the F-4 at a very fast rate. The pilot attempted to fire an AIM-9 missile at the object, but at that instant his weapons control panel went off and he lost all communications (UHF and Interphone).

Recent taped testimonies by Iranian Air Force Generals Nader Yousefi and Mahmoud Sabahat, now retired and living in exile in the United States, reveal that Gen. John Secord, then chief of the USAF mission in Iran, attended a high level briefing with Iranian authorities and the pilots and air traffic controllers involved in the incident. A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) evaluation summarized the salient features of the Iranian incident:

"An outstanding report. This case is a classic which meets all the criteria necessary for a valid study of the UFO phenomenon:

a) The object was seen by multiple witnesses from different locations (i.e. Shemiram, Mehrabad and the dry lake bed) and viewpoints (both airborne and from the ground).
b) The credibility of many of the witnesses was high (an Air Force General, qualified aircrews, and experienced radar operators).
c) Visual sightings were confirmed by radar.
d) Similar electromagnetic effects (EME) were reported by three separate aircraft.
e) There were physiological effects on some crew members (i.e. loss of night vision due to the brightness of the object).
f) An inordinate amount of maneuverability was displayed by the UFOs."