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Iran blames ‘wrong setting’ of missile defence system for shooting-down Ukrainian jet

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The air defence system, which accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger in January in Tehran was misconfigured due to the fact that it had been shifted a day earlier, according to a report from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization.

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Iran said it accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off, killing all 176 aboard. Decoding of the jet’s black boxes is expected to start July 20.

The passenger plane was hit by two missiles, fired 30 seconds apart, from a missile defence system that confused the jet for a cruise missile.

An operator had forgotten to re-adjust the north direction on the radar system after moving to a new position, an error that contributed to misreading the radar’s data, according to the report published on Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization website.

“The operator of the air defence system launched a missile at what it had detected as a hostile target without a response from the command center,” CAO said in the report, adding that an unnamed person took action independently and without authorization.

The statement said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard. It also blamed the “highest level of readiness” resulting from tensions with the United States.

The admission came after Tehran had outrightly denied claims of downing the passenger jet and accused the US of “spreading lies” about intelligence suggesting they did. Of the 176 people killed in the crash, most were Iranian and Canadian nationals.

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