Iran admits shooting down Ukrainian passenger jet ‘in human error'

Iranian foreign minister says ‘US adventurism’ led to the destruction of a Boeing 737 and the loss of 176 lives
Iran's foreign minister tweeted revealing the findings of an initial investigation into the cause of the crash.
Iran's foreign minister tweeted revealing the findings of an initial investigation into the cause of the crash.

Iran says it ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet in ‘human error’ after the Boeing 737 flew close to a military site on Wednesday.

All 176 people on-board Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed when it came down shortly after taking off from Tehran.

Iran’s civil aviation chief, Ali Abedzadeh, initially rejected speculation that the aircraft had been shot down, saying it was “scientifically impossible”.

But intelligence put forward by the US and Canada contained satellite evidence of missiles being fired at and striking the plane.

A video obtained by The New York Times appears to show a missile streaking across the sky and impacting a plane.

The Ukrainian International Airlines crash came shortly after Iran targeted US military bases in Iraq with ballistic missiles, in retaliation to the killing of one of Iran’s top generals in a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

After the crash, media and commentators speculated that the airline had been shot down after being mistaken for a US military plane.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif partly blamed “US adventurism” for the disaster.

He tweeted: "A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster.

"Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims and to other affected nations."

Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals.

According to state media, those responsible for the killing will be held accountable.  

Iran will now lead an investigation into the crash alongside US authorities and Ukraine.

There is concern that the investigation will be frustrated by high tensions between the US and Iran and bulldozers were photographed at the crash site clearing away debris, raising concerns that evidence could be lost.

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