Iran’s Air Defense Refrained From Blowing Up US Plane With 35 on Board

US Boeing P-8 entered Iranian airspace but was not shot at

Iran shot down a US surveillance drone on Wednesday, but despite some suggestions from hawks, the nation isn’t firing at everything that moves. Indeed, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s air defense forces pointed out another encroachment into their airspace to which they did not react.

An American Boeing P-8 airplane with 35 people on board entered Iranian airspace. Aerospace Force head Amir Ali Hajzadeh says Iran could have shot the plane down, but chose not to.

This report emerged early Friday, and is likely intended to be a conciliatory move, much like President Trump calling off the attack on Iran Thursday night in a desire not to kill 150 Iranians in the process.

While on the one hand, it is odd to think that the US and Iran are trying to spread a message of reconciliation by pointing out how many people they could’ve killed but didn’t. Still, this is a much preferable message to the mounting tensions and fears of confrontation coming ahead of that.

The P-8 plane isn’t just a small plane with passengers on it either, it’s a proper Boeing-made military aircraft operated by the US Navy. It is broadly used for anti-submarine operations, but also general anti-shipping efforts, and carries a number of torpedoes and other anti-surface weapons. That means this was a proper encroachment into Iranian airspace of a US military aircraft potentially intent on carrying out an attack.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.