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Friend of Iranian on Missing Jet Says Teen Sought 'Better Life'

 / Updated 
Image: A combination photo shows two men whom police said were travelling on stolen passports onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane, taken before their departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A man identified as 19-year-old Iranian Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, who police said was traveling on a stolen passport aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane, taken before departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.Malaysian Police via Reuters

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A friend of one of the two Iranian men who boarded the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight using stolen travel documents told the BBC the 19-year-old was headed to Germany in search of "a better life."

"He was looking for freedom, he was looking for a better life. He wanted to live in freedom," he told the BBC.

The friend, whom the BBC did not identify, said he knew the would-be Flight 370 passenger from high school.

Investigators identified the passenger as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and said they believed he was trying to reach to Germany to claim asylum. He was traveling on an Austrian passport.

The man's friend said he noticed a different name printed on Mehrdad's ticket.

"We went together to the print shop and we printed the ticket," he told the BBC. "After that, I see the ticket and I said, like, 'This is not your name,' and he said, 'Yes, I have another passport.'"

Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar of the Malaysian police told a news conference on Tuesday that after checking his background it appeared that Mehrdad "was not likely to be a member of any terrorist group."

Interpol later identified the second Iranian as 29-year-old Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza. He traveled on a stolen Italian passport. Mehrdad's friend described Reza as "so nice, he was so quiet."

-- Becky Bratu

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