The plane crash, which claimed the lives of 176 people, was caused by a human error that led to Washington’s “aggression,” the Iranian authorities said.
The Iranian military admitted that it shot down a passenger Boeing, flying from Tehran to Kyiv. According to their statement, the airliner of the International Airlines of Ukraine was mistaken for an enemy object, as it was flying near the zone of military operations. The attack on the Ukrainian plane was called unintentional, and its cause – the human factor.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the incident a “catastrophic mistake.” According to him, the perpetrators will be brought before a military tribunal. The Ukrainian leader, Vladimir Selensky, in turn, demanded a “full admission of guilt”, an open investigation and payment of compensation. Correspondent.net tells the details.
The inexcusable mistake of the Iranian military
The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said on the morning of January 11 that it inadvertently shot down an air defense missile Ukrainian Boeing 737, which crashed near Tehran. A statement from the Iranian military said the UIA plane was shot down accidentally as a result of human error.
At the same time, the military stressed that the plane crash occurred against the background of worsening relations between Iran and the United States: after the Iranian military attacked two U.S. military bases in Iraq, the number of flights of military aircraft increased significantly the United States.
“Due to threats of the criminal president and U.S. military command to hit many targets in Iran and taking into account the unprecedented air activity in the region, the armed forces of the country to respond to possible threats were brought to the highest combat readiness,” reads a statement issued by the state-run IRNA news agency.
This circumstance caused increased sensitivity among air defense units, the Iranian General Staff said in a statement.
The military stressed that the plane was in close proximity to the secret military facility of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and resembled an enemy object in the shape and altitude of the flight.
The General Staff promised to update military systems to avoid such “mistakes” in the future.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the authorities of the republic will continue an internal investigation into the “unforgivable mistake” that led to the Plane Crash of the UIA.
“The investigation will continue to establish and prosecute the causes of this great tragedy and unforgivable error,” Rouhani wrote on his Twitter page.
The statement of the head of Iran, published by ISNA, states that against the background of “intimidation and aggression by the United States” after the death of General Kasem Suleimani, the Iranian Armed Forces were put on full alert to defend against possible American attacks, but, “this has led to human error.”
According to Rouhani, Iran deeply regrets the tragedy with the downed Ukrainian airliner, which was carrying 176 people.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the cause of the incident and the results of the investigation would be made public. He also instructed to take all necessary measures after the proven human error of air defense.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also noted that the plane crash occurred “during the crisis caused by the adventurism of the United States.”
Iranian authorities have for days steadfastly denied that the airliner could have been shot down by an Iranian missile. In the first hours after the crash, Tehran said that the Ukrainian plane crashed due to engine fire.
A number of world leaders announced that the Boeing 737 could have been shot down by the missile by the end of the week. The day after the crash, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a missile attack on the airliner, citing intelligence data.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo also made similar statements.
U.S. President Donald Trump also expressed doubts about technical problems. The head of the White House stressed suspicions that “someone on the other side may have made a mistake.”
A number of authoritative publications also wrote that the Ukrainian plane was shot down by Iran. Video footage of the missile hitting the airliner appeared online, including in the possession of the American newspaper New York Times, which noted that it checked the reliability of the footage.
The fact that the video is the sky above the Parand area is confirmed by the international team of Investigative Journalists Bellingcat.
Bellingcat also identified the area from which the missile was believed to have been fired. One of the investigators Hristo Grozev wrote on Twitter that the site of the missile launch could be located about 6.5 kilometers from the crash site. According to him, it could be a secret IRSG base.
Iran also refused to hand over the black boxes to a third party and decided to decipher the recorders on its own. However, after the recognition of the Iranian military, the head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization’s incident investigation department, Hassan Rezaiefar, announced his intention to hand over the flight recorders of the UIA aircraft to France.
In addition, the Head of the Supreme Court of Iran Ebrahim Raisi ordered to speed up the investigation into the downed Ukrainian plane. Earlier, Tehran said that the investigation would last a year or two.
President Vladimir Green insists on a full guilty plea. He expressed the hope that in the future the investigation would take place without artificial delays and obstacles. He also stressed that 45 Ukrainian specialists should get full access and cooperation to establish justice.
“We expect Iran to be ready for a full and open investigation, to bring those responsible to justice, to return the bodies of the dead, to pay compensations, to make official apologies through diplomatic channels,” the President said.
Photos of the plane’s fuselage were posted on the President’s Office’s Facebook page, showing holes.
The UIA was convinced of the crew’s innocence in the crash in Iran. The company’s president, Yevgeny Dykhne, wrote on his Facebook page that the airline’s top employees had died on board Boeing.
“We never doubted for a second that our crew and our plane could not have caused this terrible, terrible plane crash. Thank you to all those who think and analyze who shared this with us,” Dykhne wrote.