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Iran Admits its Military Shot Down the Ukrainian Plane by Mistake

  • Iran has acknowledged on Saturday that its military had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane, which killed all 176 passengers on board. Reports say that air defenses were fired by the Iranian military in error while they were on alert after Iran carried out missile strikes on the US targets in Iraq in retaliation to the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani by the United States. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted (after the Iranian military released a statement) saying “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.” Iran had earlier denied any involvement in bringing down the Ukrainian plane even after Canada (whose 57 citizens were aboard) and the US both said that the plane was brought down by Iran. However, the acknowledgement came on Saturday after the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told the officials to make the information public. Brigadier-General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force commander, accepted full responsibility for taking down the plane as the air defense operators mistook the plane as a cruise missile and shot it down by a short-range missile. He went on to say that the operators had just 10 seconds to make a decision and didn’t have the time to confirm it from the central air defense command. Hajizadeh acknowledged that he wished he was dead once he came to know that they had hit a plane. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement that they expect a full investigation, a full admission of guilt, and compensation from Iran. Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said: “It is important that Iran has been clear about flight PS752. Tehran should take steps to deal with this terrible catastrophe so this cannot happen again.”