The country of Iran has admitted to being responsible for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 176 people on board.
Reuters reports Iran claims their air defense systems were placed on high alert after the United States launched a military drone strike to kill their top military commander and, as a result, Iran claims they accidentally shot down the plane.
The incident was caused by “human error,” Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif admitted in a tweet online, again blaming the escalating violence between Iran and the United States.
Iran said its military mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 aboard. The statement said air defenses were fired in error while on high alert https://t.co/sg2JQfNr5h pic.twitter.com/SDkepX6kzb
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 11, 2020
“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at the 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,” Zarif said in the tweet.
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.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020
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Iran had previously vigorously denied bringing the plane down. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who until Saturday had kept silent about the crash, said information should be made public.
Wednesday’s crash heightened international pressure on Iran after months of friction with the United States and tit-for-tat attacks. A U.S. drone strike had killed a top Iranian military commander in Iraq on Jan. 3, prompting Tehran to fire at U.S. targets on Wednesday.
Canada, which had 57 citizens on board, and the United States had both said they believed an Iranian missile brought down the aircraft, although they said it was probably an error.
UPDATE: Iran said it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane killing 176 people on board due to human error, after initially denying it brought down the plane in the tense aftermath of Iranian missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq https://t.co/YwE3sMNkIV pic.twitter.com/cUHEuqToWG
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 11, 2020
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also wrote a statement on Twitter where he said his country is regretful for the “mistake.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” he posted. “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families.”
Iranian General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said his country accepts “full responsibility” for taking the plane down.
The Associated Press report Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will be in communications with Iran over the downed plane, saying he wants the “perpetrators” brought to justice.
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is set to hold a telephone call with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Saturday after Tehran said it had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, the Ukrainian president’s office said,” Reuters also reports.
The Associated Press adds:
The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
The U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot down the aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, a conclusion supported by videos verified by The Associated Press.
The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. The Canadian government had earlier lowered the nation’s death toll from 63.
“This is the right step for the Iranian government to admit responsibility, and it gives people a step toward closure with this admission,” said Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian in western Canada who lost a number of friends in the crash.
Here’s how some people online responded to Iran’s admittance of guilt:
When you shoot down someone else’s plane, it’s *caused* by you. https://t.co/U0dMugjRmB
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 11, 2020
Just how completely twisted in the head do you have to be to shoot down a passenger plane killing all on board and then write this disgusting tweet? A new low even for Iran.👇 https://t.co/ltGMl3z5Vf
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) January 11, 2020
Good to know Dems and the media are back on the same page as the Iranian foreign minister. https://t.co/KeX0LF1MPt
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) January 11, 2020
The US made you fire the rocket at that plane? Nice try. Delete your account.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 11, 2020