TEHRAN – Iranian authorities have just admitted that the Boeing 737 passenger plane of Ukraine’s International Airlines was hit by an Iranian air defense missile, which was launched accidentally.
This was reported by the Fars news agency, noting that all Iranian air defense forces were “at the highest level of readiness” because of Washington’s repeated threats to strike at the country’s territory.
The air defense forces were brought into a state of increased combat readiness as part of Operation Martyr Suleimani. The authorities promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This leaves open the possibility of foul play within Iran’s military.
TASS, citing the Associated Press, quotes the words of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Mohammad Javad Zarif . He stated that the cause of the crash was a “human error” made during the crisis due to the “adventurism” of the United States.
Boeing 737-800 of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), which operated a Tehran-Kiev flight, crashed on the morning of January 8, two minutes after leaving Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran. On board the ship were 167 passengers and nine crew members, all of them died.
The United States and Canada suggested that the plane could have been unintentionally shot down by an Iranian missile fired from an air defense system. The Ukrainian authorities also did not rule out this version of the crash. Iran has so far denied that the liner was hit by a rocket.
The pilot of the downed UIA airliner during its last communication session said that the flight was operating normally . At the same time, the aircraft changed course shortly after departure.
Ultimately, unless it is later found that a lower level Iranian official did not follow a policy in place, then it appears Iran made a critical error on the level of policy in allowing civilian flights to depart during a moment when their air-defenses were reading heightened activity from U.S interlopers.
The U.S also bears tremendous responsibility in their ongoing game of brinkmanship, and had no business over the skies of of Iran, where such an error would bound to be made. Presently, there are no Iranian military planes flying over the United States in its airspace.
The U.S shot down Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes.
Certainly there are several other possibilities – that the civilian plane was targeted by a rogue element working within the military. Iran has been the victim of foreign terrorism in recent years, explosions at scientific research centers and assassinations of scientists which likely were possible due to insider treachery. However, Iran in such case would have weighed being public about this against a potential revelation that its own security was compromised.
Out of consideration are any claims that Iran would have intentionally targeted a civilian plane at the same time that the U.S would have been looking for any provocation to jump on.