Iran reports 2 fighter pilots killed by ‘technical problem’ on jet

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian fighter jet developed a “technical problem” that killed both of the aircraft’s pilots, state TV reports today.

The report says the incident happened in the country’s southwest, in the city of Dezful, 444 kilometers (270 miles) from the capital, Tehran and near the border with Iraq.

The report says an investigation is underway as to what had caused the malfunction of the Iranian air force’s F-5 fighter jet. The TV says it happened before takeoff. It doesn’t elaborate.

The report, citing an informed source, identifies the pilots as Kianoush Basati and Hossein Nami, without providing their rank. Authorities are investigating, it says.

Iran’s air force has an assortment of US-made military aircraft purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It also has Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi planes. Decades of Western sanctions have made it hard to maintain the aging fleet.

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