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Iranian Military Helicopter Crashes

Iran held military exercises in August 2006 (file photo) (Fars) February 24, 2007 -- An Iranian military helicopter has crashed near the border with Turkey and Iraq, killing at least one Revolutionary Guards commander.

Eight other people were on board the helicopter when it crashed in the province of West Azerbaijan. Their fates are not immediately clear.

An Iranian Kurdish rebel group, Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), says it shot down the aircraft with a shoulder-held missile, killing eight soldiers and capturing one.

Iran's official IRNA news agency says Revolutionary Guards killed 17 rebels in the province before the crash.

In recent weeks there have been reports of fighting in West Azerbaijan between Iranian forces and the PJAK, an Iranian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Possibility Of Military Action

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said today that the United States is not in a position to take military action against Iran.

Earlier today, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Washington would not rule out military action against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran this week ignored a UN deadline to halt sensitive nuclear activities. Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons. Mottaki urged Washington and its allies to negotiate with Tehran.

(Reuters, AFP, AP)

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

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