Days after Iran denied allegations that an Iranian missile caused the loss of a Ukrainian airliner, it has finally admitted that it indeed "unintentionally" shot down the passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard has now acknowledged that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger jet, killing all 176 aboard. The head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division said that his unit accepts "full responsibility", and that the action was “unintentional,” blamed on “human error”.
A senior IRGC commander later appeared on state TV Saturday explaining that the plane had been mistaken for a cruise missile. He also expressed his deepest condolences and sympathy to the victims’ families.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter and said: “Armed Forces internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people, Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake.”
Iran’s military force gave an explanation saying that the plane had turned towards a "sensitive military centre" of the Revolutionary Guards. It was added in the statement that: “In this sensitive moment the Ukrainian plane while approaching an IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) base was shot down after the plane’s unexpected and sharp turn”.
Ukraine International Airlines denied the allegations that their plane veered away from its expected course. There are also reports which say that a request had been sent to make the area a no-fly zone but was not approved for unknown reasons.
The Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down less than ten minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport at 6.12am Tehran time. It was said to be carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members onboard. On board were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 10 Swedish, 4 Afghan, 3 German, 3 British and 11 Ukrainians on board.
The military said that it will undertake “major reform in operations of all armed forces” to ensure such “human errors” would not happen again. With that said, irrespective of whosoever is held responsible for this should face a transparent trial.