After shooting down Ukrainian plane, Iran's judiciary announces arrests
Days after Iran (finally) took responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane in Tehran, the nation's judiciary on Tuesday announced that they have made arrests in connection with the incident. Earlier this month, the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. All 176 aboard died in the crash. Here are more details.
'Some' arrests made after 'extensive' investigation, says Iranian judiciary
The spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary, Gholamhossein Esmaili, on Tuesday announced that "some" arrests have been made. Iranian state media quoted him as saying, "Extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested." However, Esmaili didn't furnish any more details. Earlier on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani asked for a special court to be set up to prosecute those responsible in the plane crash.
Entire world will be watching this court: President Rouhani
According to Al Jazeera, President Rouhani said, "This is not an ordinary case. The entire world will be watching this court," adding that "anyone who should be punished must be punished." Admitting the "unforgivable error" again, he said, "We should assure people that it will not happen again." He said the government was accountable to "nations who lost lives in the plane crash".
Ukrainian flight downed on January 8 with no survivors
On January 8, Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport leaving no survivors. Most of the 167 passengers were Iranian and Iranian-Canadians, while the nine crew members were Ukrainian. The crash came hours after Iran launched missile attacks at Iraqi bases housing United States forces in retaliation of the US killing Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Ukraine called for probe; US intelligence blamed Iran
Iran's civil aviation organization initially blamed a technical problem for the crash. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an investigation. The day following the crash, US intelligence, backed by allied officials, claimed an Iranian missile downed flight 752. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also claimed that intelligence suggested an Iranian missile was at fault, adding that this "may have been unintentional."
Iran admitted responsibility 3 days later; blamed 'human error'
After three days of denying involvement, Iran admitted to downing the Ukrainian passenger plane, blaming "human error." Iranian military said they mistook the Boeing 737 aircraft for a "hostile target." Iran's military claimed it was on the "highest level of readiness" given recent escalations with the US and hence, shot down the Ukrainian flight as it had "turned towards a sensitive military center."
Protests demanding Supreme Leader's resignation spread across Iran
The shoot-down and attempted cover-up triggered protests in Iran. Angry protestors called for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's resignation. Unverified videos have since emerged online purportedly showing Iranian forces firing live ammunition and tear gas at protestors. The police have denied that it fired at protestors. Meanwhile, Canada, Ukraine, Britain, and other nations will consider legal action against Iran at a meeting on Thursday.