Iranian state TV, citing a military statement, said the country “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger jet early Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard, according to The Associated Press.
The statement, which came early Saturday morning local time, 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 comes after Iranian officials vehemently denied claims that they mistakenly shot the jet and accused the United States of “spreading lies” about intelligence suggesting they did. Of the 176 people killed in the crash, most were Iranian and Canadian nationals.
Iran said the plane was mistaken for “hostile target,” blamed “Human Error”
In a Saturday morning military statement carried by state media, Iran blamed “human error” for accidentally shooting down the Ukranian passenger jet. The statement said Iran “unintentionally” shot down the plane, killing all 176 people aboard.
The plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard, the statement added. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States.
“In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the statement said. It apologized for the disaster and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.
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
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted his “profound regrets, apologies, and condolences” to the families of the victims.
As EurAsian Times speculated earlier, Iran could have accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines fearing retaliation from the United States after firing dozen of missiles towards US bases in Iraq?
Aviation experts are questioning the statements of Iranian government where they claim that the deadly Ukrainian plane crash near Tehran was the result of technical failures. Independent aviation experts talking to the EurAsian Times state that planes just do not blow-up mid-air and a “shootdown” could be the most likely explanation.