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The Iranian UFO Encounter

  • Case Number: #128
  • Date: 18 September 1973
  • Time: 11 pm.
  • Location: Tehran, Iran
  • Witness(es): Multiple
  • Classification: Pilot Sightings
When calls began to come in about a UFO sighting over the skies of Iran, the authorities were inclined to take notice. The residents of the area were only too aware of what to expect to see in the night sky with the helicopters, jets and planes being a regular sight. But when a large and bright orb began to be reported as it circled the sky, something unusual was happening and it would soon turn into something much more, especially for a pilot who would have a night that he would never forget.
The case would also go on to become one of the most well documented military encounters, with transcripts and recordings being made available that tell in detail the unfolding incident as it happened. In whole the US defense intelligence agency would have four pages on the UFO sightings details. In testimonies later, many high-ranking Iranian officials would go on record and admit that they believed whatever was in the sky that night, it was not a terrestrial. At approximately eleven pm on the 18th September 1976, Husain Purusi, who was in the control tower at Mehrabad air base, began to receive a number of reports about UFO sightings. Knowing that it could not be any military or commercial craft, as he was well aware of what was in the skies at that time, he decided that he would notify the Iranian Air-force. In the real transcripts that are available, Husain is recorded as saying: “Is this the officer on duty? We’ve had several people seeing bright lights.” It was then at approximately eleven-thirty that the Air Force decided that it would send up an F4 Phantom Fighter-jet to investigate. The jets in question had been given to Iran by the US, who were at the time allies with the country.

Scrambled jets get a shock

The pilot of the jet, Reza Azizkhani was scrambled to investigate and both times that he got closer to the bright object in the sky, the instruments on the jet would fail. After ten minutes, it was decided that another jet would be scrambled to carry out an investigation. This time however, a far more frightening even would occur. The jet, this time piloted by Lieutenant Parviz Jafari, set off for a closer look. As it came into view of the bright diamond shaped object, Jafari claimed that in a split second it had moved from one position to another, which was a space of about twenty-eight miles to his right. He would say that it was so fast; it was as if it had jumped to the new position and that no man-made object was capable of carrying out such a maneuver. Jafari then continued to pursue the object, again getting it into his twelve o'clock view. It was then that he claimed a smaller object, which was again a brightly lit one, descended from the bottom of the main craft. This object then sped towards him at an incredible speed. Once it had reached him he claims that it did a full circle of his jet and then returned back to the main craft, which he could see more clearly now and was a diamond shape with a variety of colored lights over it. It did this within seconds and from what he could make out, the craft was about twenty five miles ahead of him. The speed of this small object astounded Jafari as he was himself travelling at an incredibly fast speed and the object had circled him as if he was at a standstill. Thinking the worst was over, Jafari continued to track the diamond shaped light, and then to his shock another smaller craft again descended from the bottom of the larger and began to come straight towards him. This time he was fearful that it was coming to take him down and so he turned to his controls to initiate his weapons to arm the heat-seeking missile. Jafari claimed that this is when he noticed that where there should have been a green and red lights showing that he could prepare to arm and fire his missile, the controls were all in darkness leaving him powerless to do anything. Later, he would say that he believed an electro-magnetic pulse was send out from the mother-ship that had disarmed him completely. Fearful of his life, Jafari was about to consider ditching the jet with his ejector seat, but then the smaller craft went into a reverse and began to head back to the larger object. The control systems of the jet then came back on and Jafari decided that it was becoming too risky and he contacted his superiors to request that he come back to land. They agreed and he proceeded in doing so. Then however he noticed that there was a craft that was following him as he descended. He watched it for a short time and then it deviated from him and looked as if it had crash landed in the desert. Radar reports and civilian eyewitnesses also show that this occurred.

Power loss

It was then that orders came back in for Jafari to head over to the crash site to see if he could locate what had just landed. On arriving there he assumed he would see some sort of explosion or debris, but the craft had come to a dead stop on the sand. Jafari then headed back to his base. In a later interview he would state that: “I saw it, so I have to believe it”. The following day a crew was taken to the spot where the craft had landed. Though nothing was found it emerged late that testing had been carried out on the site to look for possible radiation. It would also come out in later documentation that when the jet landed, the large craft had come down and carried out a low altitude flyby and as it did so the power in the airport and control tower was temporarily lost. The craft then headed west and went out of site. It was reported to have been seen twenty-five minutes later over the Mediterranean by an Egyptian pilot. This was also confirmed by the Egyptian embassy. The last sighting of it was over Lisbon, Portugal, where the crew and passengers of a plane reportedly saw it. It then headed out towards the Atlantic. It would also emerge later that a civilian aircraft that had been in the area of the UFO sighting in Tehran, had experienced interference with its power and had lost communication for a short time as it passed over the airport area. In later documentation, other witness testimonies of the incident would come out, including that of Shaida Kashani, who was thirteen at the time. In it she would say that when she saw the light in the sky it was going round and round and up and up and she had turned to her mother and said: “Mom, I saw a UFO”. In all the phenomena was witnessed by members of the public, the military, pilots and other high-ranking officials. Mahmouo Sabaht, who was vice commander of the Imperial Air Force who also witnesses it, said that he had initially thought that the Iraqis were coming. High ranking questions and American interest Once safely on the ground, Jafari was de-briefed by many high ranking officials of the Iranian authorities and he was also surprised to see a member of the American CIA there who was taking notes and listening intently. The American authorities seemed to take a very keen interest in the incident and when files were declassified years later, it was discovered that the official report which had been taken at the time was passed onto many in America including: The CIA, Air-Force, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and even the White House. The report was titled Iranian Reported UFO Sighting and it goes into detail about the whole incident including the witnesses, both civilian and high ranking, the scrambling of jets, military involvement and the incredible and frightening experience of the pilot, Lieutenant Parviz Jafari. Mentioned in the report is also more information on some details, including the initial calls from civilians. It stated that there were four from people living in the Shemiran area of Tehran and they had claimed to see strange objects in the sky. The report also confirms that two obstacles were seen leaving the larger craft. One of these objects was as big as 707 tanker and that people had witnessed the jet carrying out a negative G-dive in an attempt to get away from the object. With so many witnesses and some of such high rank, this UFO sighting is not easy to dismiss as a hoax or case of mistaken identity.

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