11 Jan 2020
Iran admits shooting down Ukrainian plane due to 'human error'
Days after Western officials pointed fingers at Iran for the crash of a Ukrainian plane near the international airport in Tehran, the Iranian military on Saturday admitted responsibility for shooting down the aircraft.
The Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 went down in the early hours of Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.
Here are more details.
Flight mistaken for hostile target, says Iranian military
A military statement carried by state media on Saturday morning revealed that Iran had shot down the Boeing 737 aircraft, mistaking it for a "hostile target."
The aircraft had turned toward a "sensitive military center" of the Revolutionary Guard, the statement said.
The military said that it was at the "highest level of readiness" given recent escalations with the United States.
'Flight was hit because of human error'
"In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit," the military said. It apologized for the incident adding that those responsible will be prosecuted. The military also said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.
Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake: President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted, "Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake."
Rouhani said Iran "deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families."
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also tweeted, "Our profound regrets, apologies, and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations."
You can view President Hassan Rouhani's tweet here
The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020
My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences. https://t.co/4dkePxupzm
Iran previously denied responsibility amid Western accusations
Iran had initially refused to admit that a missile strike led to the tragic plane crash on Wednesday.
However, since the crash, the US and Canada have indicated Iran's involvement in the crash.
US intelligence revealed that "infrared blips of two missile launches" were caught by a satellite, followed by a blip of an explosion.
British PM Boris Johnson also blamed Iran, citing evidence.
Ukrainian plane shot down shortly after take off
Shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport around 6 am (local time) on Wednesday, the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 came crashing down. The flight was headed to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
All 176 aboard were killed in the crash. These included 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.
Two newly-wed Iranian-Canadian couples were among those killed.