Pilot’s Family Say He Trained in Texas With AM-Airliner Rdp
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ The family of the Iranian pilot whose jetliner the U.S. Navy shot down last weekend says the pilot was like a ″typical American″ who considered the United States his second home.
″He liked the United States very much,″ Nahy Sadeghi, the pilot’s sister- in-law, said Friday.
″He had a good time here,″ added Mrs. Sadeghi’s husband, Kamran, who said pilot Mohsen Rezaian was trained in Texas by Boeing Co. when the late Shah of Iran was in power. ″He was like a typical American.″
Mrs. Sadeghi said her sister, the pilot’s widow, gave birth to her oldest child in the United States, making the 5-year-old girl an American citizen and therefore making it especially hard to explain the death to her.
″She was so proud to be an American,″ Mrs. Sadeghi said. ″She always said to the other children, ‘I’m the American.’ How is she (the mother) going to tell her that her father was shot down by Americans when she’s an American?″
The other children are 3 and 2, and none of the three have been told how their father died, the Sadeghis said.
The couple dismissed speculation that the pilot was flying a ″suicide mission″ and had orders to crash into the USS Vincennes.
″No, no. If you had known him, if you could talk to him once, you would never imagine that,″ Mrs. Sadeghi said. ″It’s not even possible. He was a very good human being. He valued people. He valued people’s lives. He would never do such a thing.″
″He loved his family, he loved his kids,″ Mrs. Sadeghi said. ″He was very responsible and would never do anything to jeopardize his own life.″
The Sadeghis said because of the increased U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, they knew their brother-in-law’s job as a commercial pilot had grown more dangerous. Still, they say they aren’t sure whom to blame for the downing of the Airbus A300, which carried 290 people.
″All Iranians do not represent the Iranian government,″ Mrs. Sadeghi said. ″Same with the Americans and the American government. They are following their own policies. I blame the situation. It’s the war that made the American Navy to be there.″
Mrs. Sadeghi was a flight attendant in Iran during the late 1960s and early 1970s. She and Sadeghi, who came to the United States in 1971 to attend the University of Oklahoma and works there as a computer programmer, are both permanent U.S. residents.
Mrs. Sadeghi said her sister has been living in West Germany for 10 months since the fighting between Iran and Iraq intensified. She would not give her sister’s name out of concerns for her safety and privacy.