Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has admitted it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian jetliner earlier this week.
The Guard’s aerospace commander said on state television Saturday, “I take full responsibility and I will obey whatever decision is taken.” He said he “wished” he “were dead” when he learned about the fate of the aircraft.
Earlier Saturday, Ukraine’s president had called for a full admission of guilt for the downing of the plane that killed all 176 people aboard.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he also wanted “a full and open investigation, bringing those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the dead, the payment of compensation, official apologies through diplomatic channels.”
Zelenskiy said later that Iran has provided enough “photos, videos and other materials” from the crash “to see that the investigation will be carried out objectively and promptly.”
Ukrainian experts in Iran have received “full cooperation” from Iran and have been given access to the crash site and the plane’s data recorders, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said. He said Ukraine’s team has “access to the recordings of conversations between the dispatchers of the flight control center at the airport in Tehran and our pilots.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded “transparency and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims.” Many of the passengers were Iranian-Canadians. “This is a national tragedy, and all Canadians are mourning together.”
Iran has admitted that its military made a horrendous miscalculation when it shot down a Ukrainian jetliner earlier this week in the outskirts of Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter Saturday that Iran “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”
Rouhani added: “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake.”
Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.
Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on Twitter: “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.”
Thumbs up for telling the truth. That matters in a world where lies have become the norm.
— hope (@setiris) January 11, 2020
The Ukrainian International Airlines flight was mistaken for a “hostile target” as it made a turn toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard,” according to a military statement carried on state media. “In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit.”
The military said it had been at its “highest level of readiness” amid heightened tensions with the United States.
The downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines jetliner, a Boeing 737, happened just hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers in response to last week’s U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Iran had initially denied that it was responsible for the downing of the jet, however, U.S. and Canadian intelligence said they believed Iran shot down the aircraft.
Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian told the Associated Press: “Iran is responsible for its own military defense equipment. While it has the right to defend itself, as it should to protect its own people, it should also have the responsibility with that right to make sure their defensive systems aren’t targeting civilian aircraft.”
The flight was en route to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, a connection stop for many Iranian-Canadians and Iranian students studying in Canada. There were 57 Canadians among the passengers.