November 12-13, 2007 -- A possible thaw in US-Iranian relations: "UFO diplomacy"
U.S. relations with mainland China thawed in the early 1970s as a result of "Ping Pong diplomacy." In the late 1990s, there was a similar thaw between America and North Korea with "basketball diplomacy" followed by an ill-fated thaw with Cuba involving "baseball diplomacy."
As unlikely as it sounds, could there be a thaw in US relations with Iran as a result of "UFO diplomacy?"
Today, a group of retired Air Force generals, as well as astrophysicists and former defense and government investigative officials from around the world, gathered at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington to call on the US government to begin an active dialogue on the reality of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related aviation security concerns. Officiating at the event was former Republican Governor of Arizona Fife Symington. Present were retired and current senior air force officers and civilian pilots from France, Belgium, Chile, Peru, United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the United States, and perhaps most notably, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Officials of Russia and Canada signed on to the request to the U.S. government. The conference was covered by CNN, the Washington Post (Dana Milbank), Spanish TV, Mexican TV, Fox News 5 Washington, DC, Agence France Presse, and Canadian TV, among others.
At a time when the United States has, until very recently, held as captives Iranian diplomats seized in Erbil in northern Iraq and neocon sectors of the administration are still calling for military action against Iran, the U.S. State Department granted a visa for retired Iranian Air Force General Parviz Jafari to attend the first ever conference in which former high-level government and military officials told their own stories about the UFO phenomenon.
General Jafari, who currently lives in Tehran and who retired from the Iranian Air Force in 1989, was clad in a suit wearing a fashionable necktie when he recounted an event that took place on September 18, 1976, in the skies over Tehran. Jafari, then an F-4 pilot and his squadron's commander, was scrambled to intercept a bright object over the city. Jafari approached the object after the first pilot scrambled lost his instrumentation and communications when he got too close to the object.
Jafari said the size of the object, according to his radar, was the size of a Boeing 707 tanker aircraft. Every time the object neared Jafari's F-4, his weapons became jammed and his radio communications were garbled.
Jafari's attempt to launch a heat-seeking missile at the object was stymied when his missile panel went out. Jafari said emergency communications were squawking from other airliners flying at the time and this emergency communications chatter continued for another few days.
After his interview at his command headquarters subsequent to the incident, Jafari said an American colonel took notes, but after the interview the American officer disappeared. Jafari told this editor he had never seen or heard from the colonel again.
Jafari did note that a previously classified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document, released pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, documented the Tehran incident in great detail and copies were sent to the National Security Agency (NSA), the White House, and the CIA. The DIA assessment said, "this case is a classic example that meets all necessary conditions for a legitimate study of the UFO phenomenon."
After the conference, I happened upon Governor Symington and one of the conference organizers in the National Press Club elevator. I asked how the Iranian general could have possibly been granted a visa under present circumstances to visit Washington, DC. Symington, a former Air Force pilot and cousin of the late Missouri Democratic Senator Stuart Symington (who became the first Air Force Secretary mere weeks after the 1947 "Roswell Incident"), only half in jest stated, "he's [the general's] probably being debriefed at the Pentagon right now." Even though it took three months to arrange for General Jafari's visa to be granted and his trip arranged, perhaps one day any U.S.-Iranian thaw in relations may be ascribed to "UFO diplomacy."