Iranian state TV, citing a military statement, says the country ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard, after mistaking the aircraft for a hostile, enemy target – but blames ‘U.S. adventurism’ for the human error.
The statement came Saturday morning, local time, and blamed ‘human error’ for shooting down the plane on Tuesday.
Specifically, Iranian officials says the aircraft ‘took the flying posture and altitude of an enemy target’ as it neared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps base and attending personal didn’t recognize it as a passenger plane.
‘Under these circumstances, because of human error, [the plane] came under fire,’ the statement read, according to the New York Times.
However, Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran Javad Zarif placed blame on ‘US adventurism’ for the plane crash on Twitter.
He wrote: ‘A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.’
Iran had denied for several days that two missiles downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft. The crash site has since been cleared
Part of a missile is seen at the crash site. The debris of the Boeing 737 was removed from the crash site near Tehran before Ukrainian investigators arrived, sparking fears of a cover-up +27
Part of a missile is seen at the crash site. The debris of the Boeing 737 was removed from the crash site near Tehran before Ukrainian investigators arrived, sparking fears of a cover-up
This image shows an object said to be the Ukrainian jetliner flying in sky at the moment of explosion with a flash of light +27
This image shows an object said to be the Ukrainian jetliner flying in sky at the moment of explosion with a flash of light
Ali Rabiei, an Iranian government spokesperson, previously denied that their military downed the crash, even going so far to say it was a ‘big lie’ and the accusations were ‘psychological warfare’ against Tehran.
‘The United States is making the pain of the families worse,’ Rabiei said in a statement.
‘It is unfortunate that the psychological operation of the US government and those supporting it are adding insult to the injury of the bereaved families and victimising them for certain goals by propagating such fallacies.’
‘No one will assume responsibility for such a big lie once it is known that the claim had been fraudulent.’
Officials also pushed back against the Western account, saying the plane would have exploded if it was truly hit by a missile.
‘The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash,’ the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization says.
‘The plane disappeared from radar screens the moment it reached 8,000 feet. The pilot sent no radio message about the unusual circumstances.’
‘According to eyewitnesses, a fire was seen on board the plane which grew in intensity.’
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly addressed the revelation on Twitter, saying an internal investigation has found the missiles were launched and the country regrets the ‘disastrous mistake.’