Aviation

An “unforgivable error”: Iran makes arrests over downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Several arrests have been made over the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752, which killed all 176 people on board last week.

At this stage, the number of individuals detained, and their names, remain unknown. However, Iran’s judiciary has told the country’s state media that “extensive investigations have taken place” and “some individuals” have been arrested, ABC News reported.

The announcement came on Tuesday, shortly after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reportedly called for a special court to be set up to probe the downing last week of the plane by Iranian forces.

In a televised speech, Rouhani said the downing of Flight PS752 was an “unforgivable error” and Iran will punish all those responsible for the accidental shooting, as reported by ABC News.

He said the “tragic event” – in which Iran’s military falsely identified the carrier as a cruise missile – would be investigated thoroughly.

Trudeau blames US and Iran showdown for tragedy

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blamed the showdown between Donald Trump and Iran’s leaders for the downing of the aircraft, and the deaths of the 176 people on board.

Speaking to Canada’s Global News, he said those who died could have been “right now home with their families” if not for the situation currently enveloping the region.

Among those killed in the downing of Flight PS752 were 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians (including “many” Iranians with dual citizenship), and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.

“This is something that happens when you have conflict and war, innocents bear the brunt of it,” Trudeau said.

The shooting down of Flight PS752 came at a time when Iran was bracing for military retaliation for its missile attack on two military bases in Iraq housing US troops, carried out in response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.

A person who allegedly posted a video online of a missile striking Flight PS752 has also been taken into custody by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the country’s semi-official Fars news agency reported. The results of the investigation will reportedly be presented to the public, the agency said, without providing further details.

UIA Flight PS752 was carrying 176 people on a routine flight from Iran to Ukraine, when it crashed on the outskirts of Tehran, after bursting into flames shortly after take-off last Wednesday.

After initially denying allegations that a missile launched by state forces had brought down the jetliner, Iran acknowledged that its Revolutionary Guard had mistakenly brought down the plane.

This followed mounting evidence by international and national intelligence sources obtained by Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, among others, which supported the theory Iran was responsible.

In response to a lack of transparency from the Iranian government around the downing of the aircraft, Iranians have been protesting across the country for the past few days, directing their anger at Iran’s leadership.

Featured image: (iStock.com/tomch)


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