The passenger Boeing of the Ukrainian airline UIA that fell near Tehran was shot down by mistake, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said.
вЂњAs a result of a human mistake, this plane was shot down by accident,вЂќ the statement issued by the IRIB state-run radio company said.
The General Staff explained that the plane was shot down because it flew in close proximity to an important military facility and made a U-turn in such a way that it was mistaken for an enemy target. This happened against the background of increased combat readiness due to possible US response to missile attacks on US bases in Iraq.
Iranian President Hassan Rowhani expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the disaster, ordered to take all measures to compensate for the shot down of the plane and promised that Tehran would continue the investigation.
вЂњThe investigation will continue to establish and prosecute the causes of this great tragedy and inexcusable mistake,вЂќ Rowhani said in a statement posted on Twitter.
In addition, he called to address the shortcomings of the Iranian air defense system.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in turn, wrote on Twitter that the plane crash was caused by вЂњa human mistake during a crisis provoked by U.S. adventurism. He also offered condolences and apologies to the families of those killed in the plane crash.
The crash of the Boeing-737 near Tehran...
The Boeing 737 aircraft of Ukraine International Airlines crashed early on the morning of January 8, a few minutes after departing from Tehran airport. 176 people died: citizens of Afghanistan, Canada, Germany, Iran, Sweden, Ukraine, and the UK.
Initially, Iranian aviation authorities claimed that the crash was caused by technical problems. But then Western media reported that the plane was shot down by air defense forces. Later the same version was made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who referred to the intelligence data and was supported by the head of the British government Boris Johnson. However, Iran continued to refute these claims.
Tensions in the Middle East increased after the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. In response, on the night of January 8, Iran launched missile strikes against Iraqi bases where American troops are stationed. After that, President Donald Trump said Washington does not want to demonstrate military power but imposes new sanctions against Tehran.