Iran ‘unintentionally’ shot down plane

2020-01-11 at 12:55

Iran says its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.

Iran’s state TV reported the statement read it had done so due to “human error” after the plane flew close to a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The statement said the jet was hit by a missile, after being mistaken for a “hostile target”. It added those responsible would be held accountable.

Iran had previously rejected suggestions that one of its missiles brought down the plane near the capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.

But pressure mounted after the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran had shot down the plane with a missile, possibly accidently.

In a tweet, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the “horrific crash” of the aircraft was an “unforgivable mistake”.

The downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 with the loss of 176 lives came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.

The Ukrainian flight, en route to Kyiv, came down near Imam Khomeini Airport shortly after take-off.

US media had speculated that the Ukrainian airliner may have been mistaken for a warplane as Iran prepared for possible US retaliation.

The Iranian air strikes were launched in retaliation to the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone attack on 3 January.

In a tweet today, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested “US adventurism” was partly to blame for the downing of the Ukrainian jet.

Victims of the disaster included 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from Sweden, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany.