Iran admits that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian plane with missiles

Iran admits that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian plane with missiles
Remains of the plane shot down in Tehran. (EFE)

The plane would have been shot down by a “disastrous human error,” according to a statement from the Iranian Armed Forces

The Ukrainian plane that crashed early Wednesday near Tehran International Airport was shot down by Iranian missiles, the country’s Armed Forces have admitted. The plane would have been shot down “by a disastrous mistake,” according to a statement from the Iranian armed forces published on Saturday morning.

“The internal investigation of the Armed Forces has concluded that, unfortunately, missiles fired by a human error caused the horrible crash of the Ukrainian plane and the death of 176 innocent people,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on his Twitter.

Initially, Iran had argued that the plane, a Boeing 737-800 that made the Tehran-Kyiv route with 176 people on board, had crashed within minutes of taking off for a “technical failure” that caused a fire in one of the engines, However, both the US and Canada said Thursday that the device, from the Ukrainian company UIA, had been shot down by an Iranian missile. Both countries maintained their claim on satellite images that collected infrared flashes from the launch of two missiles.

“Investigations continue to identify and process this great tragedy and unforgivable error,” Rouhani added. “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

The wrecked plane took off from Iran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport at 6:12 local time and lost contact just two minutes later, at 6:14, according to flight monitoring sites.

According to the Iranians, shortly after taking off the plane changed course to try to return to the airport, and it would have been this abrupt change of course, which occurred on “a sensitive military base”, which would have caused the firing of the missiles, according to the statement published by the Armed Forces.

The Iranian Army has pointed out that the plane “took the posture, and the altitude of an enemy target” when it was flying over a base of troops of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Then, “due to a human error,” the plane “was attacked.”

Both the US and Canada have supported from the beginning of the version that this attack would have occurred “by mistake.” “(The missile firing on the plane) It may have been unintended,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference on Thursday.