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Iran admits to shooting down Ukrainian passenger plane ‘unintentionally’

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US Iran News: Iran has admitted it had accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed Wednesday morning, killing all 176 people on board.

In a surprisingly candid mea culpa, President Hassan Rouhani said his country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake” and vowed to investigate and prosecute. “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said.

Iran’s military also issued a statement on the crash, an unusual move for such a secretive organization. The statement said Iran’s armed forces were on high alert at the time of the crash. “Numerous defense centers around the country reported seeing increased activity on radar which caused a heightened sensitivity in the aerial defense centers of the country.”

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After the Ukrainian airliner took off from Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, it flew close to a sensitive military site “at an altitude and a condition of a flight that resembled (a) hostile target,” the statement added.

Some experts have criticized Iran for not closing off civilian airspace after launching missiles to prevent this type of incident.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also acknowledged the airliner was brought down by a missile, but said the United States bore partial responsibility.

“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” he said.

The plane was shot down shortly after Iran launched strikes at Iraqi bases housing US troops. Those strikes were retaliation for the US killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq earlier this month.

After sending a tweet Saturday morning acknowledging the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed this week was shot down, Iran President Hassan Rouhani has released a lengthy statement, calling the incident a “terrible catastrophe as follows:

With the utmost regret and sorrow, hours ago I was informed of the outcome of the General Staff of the Armed Forces’ investigation into the Ukrainian passenger plane crash. In the atmosphere of threats and intimidation by the aggressive American regime against the Iranian nation after the martyrdom of General Qasem Soleimani, and in order to defend ourselves against possible attacks by the American Army, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran were on full alert, which unfortunately led to this terrible catastrophe taking the lives of dozens of innocent people because of human error and mistaken shooting.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is deeply sorry by this disastrous mistake, and I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic incident on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and instruct all related organs to take all necessary measures to compensate and sympathise with the bereaved families. I also express my deep condolences and sympathy of the Iranian government to the nations, governments and families of non-Iranian victims. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be in full consular cooperation to identify and return the bodies of victims to their families.

This painful accident is not something that can be easily overlooked. Further investigation is needed to identify all the causes and roots of this tragedy and prosecute the perpetrators of this unforgivable mistake and inform the honourable people of Iran and the families of the victims about it.

It is also necessary to adopt the required arrangements and measures to address the weaknesses of the country’s defence systems to make sure such a disaster is never repeated.

Again, I extend my condolences to the families of the victims of this painful accident, praying for those who lost their lives and wishing their bereaved families patience and rewards. US Iran News. US Iran News.

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