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Two pilots dead as Iranian fighter jet crashes during training mission

Iranian F-7 (Shahram Sharifi/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Two Iranian Air Force pilots were killed when their F-7 fighter jet crashed during a training mission near the city of Naeen in central Iran.

The state news agency IRNA said the crash occurred in the morning on May 24. The state ISNA news agency quoted a military official as saying that it appeared a “technical issue” caused the accident, though an investigation has been opened to pinpoint the cause.

Iran’s air force has seen a number of crashes in recent years.

In February, an F-5 fighter jet — purchased from the United States before the 1979 Islamic Revolution — crashed into a school stadium in a residential area of the northwestern city of Tabriz, killing two pilots and one civilian.

Decades of Western sanctions against Tehran have made it difficult to get spare parts for the jets and to maintain the fleet.

The air force also flies Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi planes.