TEHRAN, Iran - Tehran complained Saturday about violations of its airspace by U.S. and British warplanes flying missions over Iraq, and Pentagon officials said as many as three American missiles aimed at Iraqi targets may have landed in neighboring Iran.
U.S. and British warplanes repeatedly entered Iran's southern airspace on Friday and Saturday near the southern port of Basra, Iraq's second city, where heavy fighting is reported between Iraqi and coalition forces, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
It quoted Col. Rahim Qanavati, a law enforcement officer, as saying that during air combat between Iraqi and U.S. warplanes, a stray rocket landed on a facility of the Abadan Petrochemical Co.
The explosion frightened residents, many of whom rushed out of their homes, the agency said.
Qanavati did not mention casualties, but Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Kianoush Rad, who represents Iran's southwestern Khuzestan province in parliament, said Friday that two people had been injured in the accident.
Iran has said its airspace is closed to coalition and Iraqi warplanes.
In Washington, two Pentagon officials said as many as three U.S. missiles aimed at targets in Iraq may have landed in Iran.
U.S. and Iranian officials are discussing the matter and Iran realizes that any strike was unintentional, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In London, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said he could not confirm reports of stray missiles landing in Iran. "I have seen these suggestions and obviously they are being investigated and we are continuing our contact with the government there," he said.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi urged the world body to act to stop the attacks on Iraq, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
"Unfortunately even the most primitive human and ethical rules are being violated in the course of this war... The defenseless, oppressed Iraqi nation are now under heavy attacks of the invading forces from the air, sea and land," Kharrazi said.
Kharrazi said the war was a strike against an Islamic country, a violation of international law and that it paved the way for "the emergence of a chaotic world in which force dictates the rules and anarchism is the name of the game."
Meanwhile, Iran joined a growing list of nations opposing Washington's request to expel Iraqi diplomats and close their embassies.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran follows an independent policy and will not take any action to expel Iraqi diplomats or close down the embassy of this country," state-run Tehran radio on Saturday quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.
While Iran says it will not shed any tears if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is toppled, it strongly opposes a U.S. military invasion of Iraq without UN backing.