TEHRAN, IRAN – According to Reuters, Iran has admitted today its military had accidently shot down the Ukraine International Boeing 737-800 of Flight 752, killing all 176 people aboard. Iran fired surface-to-air missiles by mistake. Iran was on high alert after it fired 22 missiles at on U.S. targets in Iraq on Wednesday, just hours prior to the Ukrainian crash.
Iran had previously denied bringing the plane down, but the crash of Flight 752 has heightened international pressure on Iran.
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. caused the Iranians to be in a high state of alert – probably afraid of an American attack – after Iran launched 22 ballistic missiles at 2 U.S. targets in Iraq on Wednesday, in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani – Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – 5 days earlier, on Friday January 3, 2019.
Canada and the U.S. had both said they were sure that an Iranian missile accidentally shot down the Ukrainian passenger aircraft with 57 Canadian citizens on board. “Time will tell and the world is watching,” Canada’s foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne said to Iran on Friday.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter. He also promised that the people behind the incident would be prosecuted. “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families,” Rouhani added.
“Human error at time of crisis, caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter.
Angry Iranians asked on Twitter why the passenger aircraft was allowed to take off with such high tensions, only hours after the Iranian military fired missiles on U.S. targets in Iraq.
Many of the victims of the crash of Flight 752 were Iranians with a dual nationality.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wants an official apology and full cooperation, demanding those responsible be held to account, he said as a response to Iran’s announcement.