For all we know, it could have been the Soviets having fun messing with the American watchposts that they knew were out there, watching.
“Hey, Boris! I’m bored!”
“Let’s go mess with the imperialist capitalist swines’ minds, Ivan!”
“Good idea! You get the remote-controlled minidirigibles, and I’ll get the plasma rays!”
“Great, comrade! I’ll bring the vodka, too!”
They should have projected the Bat Signal in the sky
I still feel searchlight activity is probably the best explanation fitting much of Huli’s decsriptions. If there is an inversion layer at some altitude, the beams can create a spot-like reflection there. The occasional “focussing” described by Huli could be moments where they thought they detected something, and focussed the search beams.
I noted that the area in question seems not far from the Turkey border, so in addition to Soviet air defenses, US-Turkish airdefenses (note that US planes, including CIA and Air Force reconnaissance planes, were operating from the Turkish Diyarbakir airfield) could also be in play. I am quite certain the Soviets at times would try to test the western border defenses as well and conducted their own ELINT and IMINT flights along the border, and they would certainly have been interested in the CIA ELINT stations present there.
So far after the fact, it is impossible to get at 100% certain an explanation, but given what was going on in that part of the world at that time, air defense action related to Cold War airborne snooping is not a far stretch. After all, Hulli’s father was there for related activities. It was a “hot” area with acknowledged CIA and Soviet intelligence gathering activity.
I am dimly aware of the situation you, LaMa and Acci refer to. In fact, it was also during that time that my father decided to take me, my younger brother and sister with him and an Iranian military group up into the mountains more northerly. I remember my father not sleeping and us being herded up in the middle of the night to move further up into the mountains. Much of this fleeing seemed an adventure but in hindsight, I believe we were probably safer with him than being left alone in Tabriz unguarded so to speak. Something was happening up there, that’s for sure.
Was this directly in connection with these sky phenomena? I wonder whether he might have thought they were connected to a military raid against the CIA activities there and decided to move you lot to a safer place, out of harms way.