, TEHRAN, Aug 17 – An Iranian air force jet crashed on Tuesday in the southern province of Bushehr which houses a nuclear power plant, said a Mehr news agency report that added the two airmen on board ejected and survived.
The aircraft, a US-made F4 jet fighter that requires a two-person crew, went down about five kilometres (more than three miles) from the Bushehr Special Economy Zone, the report said.
The English-language Press TV channel\’s website said the jet crashed near Shif island, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Iran\’s first nuclear power plant in Bushehr which the Islamic republic plans to activate on Saturday.
"Fortunately the two pilots were successful in ejecting themselves and have been taken to a hospital," Bushehr emergency services chief Gholam Reza Keshtkar was quoted as saying by Mehr.
A separate report by Fars news agency, quoting provincial official Mohammad Hassan Shanbadi, said the two pilots "were in good condition."
"They were flying from the city of Borzjan and the crash was the result of technical faults," Shanbadi said, adding the jet went down in a desert area and "caused no problem to anyone."
Bushehr is the site of an Iranian nuclear plant built by Russians and which officials have said will be launched on August 21 to eventually generate electricity.
Officials say Tehran has stepped up defensive measures at the Bushehr plant to protect it from any attacks as arch-foes Israel and the United States have never ruled out a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said earlier Tuesday that "threats of Israeli attacks had become repetitive and lost their meaning."
"According to international law, installations which have real fuel cannot be attacked because of the humanitarian consequences," he told reporters at a news conference.