Houshang Shahbazi saved the lives of more than 100 passengers and crew in an emergency landing at Mehrabad airport.
Houshang Shahbazi, the Iranian airline captain who saved the lives of more than 100 passengers and crew by making an emergency landing in Tehran, says he's been forced into early retirement.
"Authorities in charge have [prevented] me from flying and have confined me at home under the excuse that I have portrayed flights by Iranian airlines as unsafe," Shahbazi was quoted as saying October 15 by Iranian news agencies. The 56-year-old Shahbazi says he still has nine years left before the end of his career as a pilot. He adds that authorities had repeatedly asked him to stop his public efforts against the U.S. sanctions that ban Iran from buying spare parts for its aging civilian airline fleet. "[Officials] told me, 'You can return to work under certain conditions.' They said, 'You have to commit yourself not to engage in social work anymore.' I refused," Shahbazi says, adding that he doesn't think he has done anything wrong.
Shahbazi became a national hero last October following his miraculous
landing of a Boeing-727 at Tehran's Mehrabad airport after the plane's
front landing gear jammed. A video posted on YouTube captured the graceful landing of the crippled
plane on only its rear wheels. The plane, which was returning from
Moscow with 94 passengers and 19 crew members onboard, landed safely. No
one was injured.
The incident highlighted the impact of sanctions on the Islamic republic, which routinely declares that it can survive and flourish despite the heavy financial penalties.