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Iran UFO Incident Of 1976: Scrambled Military Jets, Instrument Malfunctions & Flying Saucers

The UFO incident over Tehran, Iran, in 1976 involved high-ranking military officials, F-4 military jets, and countless reliable witness statements.


Iran UFO
In 1976 Iran was home to one of the most fascinating high profile UFO sightings of modern times

Late on the evening of September 18, 1976, residents of Tehran, Iran, observed what they took to be a multicoloured aircraft hovering a few thousand feet in the air. Several called the nearby Mehrabad airport, but their reports were ignored until finally, chief air traffic controller Houssain Perouzi decided to look for himself. His binoculars focused on an unusual object at 6000 feet altitude and five miles' distance. The object, which had blue lights on its right and left sides and a red flashing light in the middle, was moving in an erratic fashion, changing colours and even its apparent shape.


Perouzi handed the glasses over to another controller. Then passing aircraft reported that they were hearing emergency beeper signals on their radios. Puzzled and alarmed, Perouzi notified a duty officer, who quickly contacted his superior, General Youssefi. Youssefi stepped out onto his porch and spotted the object, then contacted two military radars, one at Shaharoki (135 nautical miles west-south-west), the other Babolsar (88 miles to the northeast). Neither was picking up anything, possibly because the mountains surrounding Tehran were blocking off the signals. The radar at Mehrabad was not operating at the time.


At the general's direction, an F-4 was dispatched from Shaharoki at 1:30 a.m. But when it got within 25 nautical miles of the UFO, its instrumentation and communication ceased functioning. Only when the pilot pulled away did functioning resume. He continued to pursue it at a safe distance until he thought he had chased it over the Afghan border. But when he turned back toward Tehran, he was startled to see the UFO ahead of him. Evidently, it had beaten him to his own destination. Youssefi, now in the control tower, was in radio contact with the pilot, whom he ordered to close in on the intruder. Every time he got within 20 miles of it, however, he suffered the same avionics failure that he had experienced earlier. His plane running low on fuel, he was forced to give up the chase. The object was now about 14 miles away and 15,000 feet in the air.

A second jet took off from Shaharoki at 1:40. Twenty-seven miles from the target, the aircraft's radar picked up an object the size of a "707 tanker." As the pilot closed on the UFO, it moved away, as his radar confirmed. A U.S. Air Force memo prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Olin R Mooy, who interviewed the pilot, tells what happened next:

"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 and alternating blue, green, and orange in colour. The sequence of the lights was so fast that all the colours could be seen at once. The object and the pursuing F-4 continued on course to the south of Tehran when another brightly lighted object, estimated to be one-half to one-third the apparent size of the moon, came out of the original object. This second object headed straight toward the F-4 at a very fast rate of speed. 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). At this point, the pilot initiated a turn and negative G dive to get away. As he turned the object fell in trail at what appeared to be 3-4 NM (nautical miles). As he continued in his turn away from the primary object, the second object went to the inside of his turn, then returned to the primary object for a perfect rejoin."

"Shortly after the second object joined up with the primary object, another object appeared to come out of the other side of the primary object going straight down at a great rate of speed. The F-4 crew had regained communications and the weapons control panel and watched the object approach the ground anticipating a large explosion. This object appeared to come to rest gently on the earth and cast a very bright light over an area of about 2-3 kilometres. The crew descended from their altitude of 25,000 to 15,000 and continued to observe and mark the object's position. They had some difficulty in adjusting their night visibility for landing, so after orbiting Mehrabad a few times they went out for a straight-in landing. There was a lot of interference on the UHF and each time they passed through a mag. bearing of 150 degrees from Mehrabad they lost their communications (UHF and interphone) and the INS fluctuated from 30 degrees to 50 degrees. The one civil airliner that was approaching Mehrabad during this same time experienced communications failure in the same vicinity (Kilo Zulu) but did not report seeing anything. While the F-4 was on a long final approach, the crew noticed another cylinder-shaped object (about the size of a T-bird [jet trainer aircraft] at 10 NM) with bright steady lights on each end and a flasher in the middle. When queried the tower stated that there was no other known traffic in the area. During the time that the object passed over the F-4, the tower did not have a visual on it but picked it up after the pilot told them to look between the mountains and the refinery."

"During daylight, the F-4 crew was taken out to the area in a helicopter where the object apparently had landed. Nothing was noticed at the spot where they thought the object had landed (a dry lake bed) but as they circled off to the west of the area, they picked up a very noticeable beeper signal. At the point where the return was the loudest was a small house with a garden. They landed and asked the people within if they had noticed anything strange last night. The people talked about a loud noise and a very bright light like lightning. The aircraft and area where the object is believed to have landed are being checked for possible radiation."

The Iran military conducted an official investigation and interviewed the two pilots, their co-pilots, and the two controllers in the tower. (The latter did not see the landing, which took place 15 miles south of the airport, out of their view) General Abdulah Azerbarzin, who had sat in on the interviews, later told physicist/ufologist Bruce Maccabee that the radars on both aircraft had been jammed when they locked onto the UFO. One of the craft had almost passed under the UFO. The pilot described the object as looking, in the general's words, "just like a saucer, and the shape of the cockpit was a ball... half a ball, and the colour of the lighting of the cockpit was different with what it had on the outside. It was close to yellow."


General Azerbarzin claimed that complete records of the investigation had been turned over to the U.S. Air force. Nonetheless, the Air Force steadfastly maintained that its only record of the incident was the Mooy memo. (Two students of official UFO policy have written, "Reliable sources within the government have told us that the Iranian case file was about one and a half inches thick.") In any case, copies of that memo went to an impressive list of offices and agencies: Secretary of State, Central Intelligence Agency, White House, Air Force and Army Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Naval Operations, Defense Intelligence Agency, Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Forces in the Middle East, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Air Force in Europe, European Defense Air Command, and Commander in Chief of Forces in Europe.

A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) "Report Evaluation" rated it "High (Unique, Timely, and of Major Significance)." It went on:


"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., Shemiran, 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 tower operators).
c) Visual sightings were confirmed by radar.
d) Similar electromagnetic effects (EME) were reported by three seperate aircrafts.
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."

In its third-quarter 1978 issue MIJI Quarterly, a classified publication circulated among U.S. agencies involved in electronic intelligence, reported on the incident. The article was declassified in 1981.


No satisfactory explanation for the incident has ever been proposed, though debunker Phillip J. Klass would attempt one. In Klass's view, the witnesses initially saw an astronomical body, probably Jupiter, and pilot incompetence and equipment malfunction accounted for the rest. Klass's theory presumes a remarkable lack of even rudimentary observing and technical skills on the parts of the Iranian participants. In some ways, it would be easier to credit the notion, for which no evidence exists either, that the witness consciously fabricated the sighting. Both General Azerbarzin and air controller Perouzi considered the incident thoroughly puzzling. So, as the documents indicate, did American analysts familiar with it.


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Another fantastic UFO encounter that has still not been explained to date. Let us know what your thoughts are on the Iran UFO incident in the comments section below. Now you have read about the Iran UFO incident, make sure you take a look at Falcon Lake UFO Incident 1967: The Claims Of Stefan Michalak & The Investigation That Followed.