Much is uncertain about the incident involving Mr. Daei, including where his wife and daughter were headed — to a vacation or to escape. Since the initial reports first emerged on Monday, Iranian state media has offered vague and contradictory information about the case.
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Mr. Daei told state media that his wife, Mona Farokhazari, and daughter, Noora Daei, were flying from Tehran to Dubai on Mahan Air, an Iranian airline, when the plane was forced to land on Kish Island, which lies in the Persian Gulf between Iran’s southern coast and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Daei, whose own passport was reportedly confiscated earlier this year, said the two were questioned and prevented from boarding a new flight to Dubai, then returned to Tehran.
“They passed through passport control and boarded the plane quite legally,” Mr. Daei said on Monday, according to state media. “If there was a problem, why didn’t they arrest them? If there is no problem, why did they bring them back?”
By Tuesday, Mr. Daei had not backed down, telling the media, “I thank God that their plane was not hit by enemy missiles” — a sarcastic reference to the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet by two Iranian missiles in January 2020, in which all 176 people aboard were killed.
Mr. Daei, whose current location is unclear, did not respond to messages on social media or an email seeking comment.
Tasnim, a news agency closely linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, claimed that the pair’s true final destination was the United States. But Mr. Daei provided photos to Tabnak, an Iranian news site, of the women’s round trip flight reservation, showing that they were scheduled to return from Dubai to Tehran on Jan. 2.