The Iranian Sightings

One of the most unexplainable UFO sightings occurred in the mid-eastern state of Iran on September 19, 1976. The incident started a little after midnight when the officer on duty at the military control center in Teheran, B.G. Yousefit, received several calls from citizens reporting strange, bright lights in the sky. He reassured the callers they were only seeing stars, but after getting the fourth such report on the same topic, Yousefit decided he'd better go outside and take a look.

The officer expected to see nothing, but was surprised when he saw a large, glowing object floating over the edge of the city. Yousefit hurried back inside and called the Shahrokhi Air Base requesting they launch an F-4 Phantom jet to intercept the object.

The Phantom jet took off at 1:20 A.M.. The pilot, 23-year old Lieutenant Jafari, could clearly see the glowing mass some seventy miles in front of him. Jafari kicked in the Phantom's afterburners and attempted to overtake the UFO. He reported it appeared ato be half the size of the moon and "radiating colors - violet, orange and white light."

As Jafari's F-4 approached to within a few miles of the object, it seemed to zoom away from him. At the same time, all the electronic instruments in the fighter jet mysteriously lost power. Unable to close with the UFO, the Jafari conferred with the control tower and decided to turn the Phantom around and head home. As he did, power unexpectedly returned to his systems.

Moments later Jafari was on the radio again reporting that a smaller object had separated from the first and was pursuing him. Jafari was sure that there was going to be a collision, but the object veered around him at the last moment, missing him. It then returned to the original UFO and Jafari shepherded his Phantom back to base.

At least one ground radar was tracking the UFO. The return from the signal was similar to that of an airliner.

By then a second Phantom was in the air and on its way to intercept the UFO. As it approached, the pilot switched on his intercept radar. When he did, the UFO took off. The Phantom went to afterburners to try and catch up, but it couldn't. Suddenly a ball of light separated from the UFO and headed straight for the F-4. The crew, trained to automatically return fire, tried to launch an air-to-air missile at the UFO. All the electronic systems on the plane went dead at that moment and the rocket failed to fire.

The Phantom took evasive maneuvers. This proved unnecessary as at the last moment the ball did a U-turn and went back to the original UFO. The F-4's crew then observed a second ball of light separate from the UFO and head straight toward the ground. They half expected an explosion when it hit the surface, but it landed gently. Then the UFO suddenly accelerated away and disappeared.

The plane's crew circled the ball of light on the ground which was clearly visible even from an altitude of 25,000 feet. As they passed a bearing of 150 degrees from the object, they mysteriously lost communications for a few seconds. Finally they spiraled down to 15,000 feet at which point the light disappeared. It had been so brilliant that it took the pilot a considerable amount of time before he was able to get his night vision back so he could land the plane.

The next day the crew of the second Phantom guided a helicopter out to the field where the ball of light had landed. They found nothing, but inquiries at a nearby house produced reports of hearing a loud sound (probably the F-4) and seeing a bright light through the window the night before.

In 1976 when this encounter occured, Iran was still under the control of the Shah and the country was a close ally of the United States. The crews who made the observations were highly trained by American personnel, and they flew advanced U.S.-made aircraft. The U.S. Defense Department studied the incident carefully.

In documents declassified years later, two researchers from Aero-Jet in California discovered that the object had been tracked by a United States DSP satellite. The DSP satellites belong to the U.S. military and are used to detect missile launches. The satellites can also detect the infrared heat signature of aircraft. The night of the Iranian incident ,a DSP satellite detected a heat signature over Iran that could not be matched to any known aircraft in the military's heat signature database.

There is a post-amble to this story. A little less than two years later in June 1978 after the Shah's ouster, a sixteen-year-old boy in Sheraz, Iran, photographed a UFO from the window of his family's apartment. A similar picture was taken by another Iranian teen on October 9th of that same year. The U.S. military took an interest in the pictures, according to documents released through the Freedom of Information Act. Some suspect it was because the object in the photographs resembled an experimental plane,called "Tacit Blue" stationed at the famed Area 51 secret base, and designed to test stealth technology.

So what was in the air over Iran that night? Was it a freak meteorological effect? Were the Russians testing a new secret aircraft on their neighbors? Could it have been an alien spacecraft? It remains a mystery. A classic close encounter of the first kind.

Copyright Lee Krystek 1999. All Rights Reserved.