- The Ukraine International Airlines plane was on its way to Kiev on January 8 when the blast happened.
- The downing of the airliner and the initial cover-up of the facts by the Iranian leadership led to protests in Iran.
- The current crash report has yet to be finalized, and investigations are still ongoing.
The Iranian military shot down Ukrainian passenger flight PS752 using two surface-to-air missiles after mistaking it for enemy aircraft. This is according to a second report released by the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran. It reveals that the airliner was hit by two “TOR-M1” rockets.
The Ukraine International Airlines plane was on its way to Kiev on January 8 when the blast happened. All of its 176 passengers and crew died in the crash. According to information from Iranian news sources, 147 of the passengers were Iranians. Many of them had dual citizenship. Fifty-seven of them were Canadian nationals.
Footage of the hit circulated on social media shows that the plane was most likely targeted using two missiles. The first might have destroyed the aircraft’s communication system since there was no alarm from the pilots. Iran’s Foreign Office spokesman Abbas Mousavi has urged Canada and the other nations not to politicize the incident. Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Ukraine had initially called for an independent investigation into the crash. According to Mousavi, Iran is trying to arrange for the transfer of the bodies abroad in cooperation with the countries affected by the accident.
Iran has conceded that the catastrophe occurred in amid a potential military confrontation with the United States. The authorities had initially relayed that the plane crashed because of a technical defect but have admitted fault following the emergence of contradictory evidence. It is important to highlight that the current crash report has yet to be finalized, and investigations are still ongoing.
The downing of the airliner and the initial cover-up of the facts by the Iranian leadership led to protests in Iran. The demonstrators demanded that those responsible be punished. Some even called for the resignation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The British ambassador was apprehended shortly after leaving one of the rallies. The brief detention threatened to become a momentous diplomatic flashpoint between the two nations. President Hassan Rouhani promised a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the missile-fire by a special court and teams of experts.
A lot has happened in Iran in recent years that few could have foreseen. The possibility of a military coup against the government was, for example, openly discussed two years ago. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) is now, however, preoccupied with limiting damage and preventing further loss of face.
The risk of war between the United States and Iran has decreased but is still present. The danger of a direct military conflict may have lessened, but the proxy wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen continue and could even expand. Many Iraqis fear that Iran’s influence in their country will increase should the Americans leave Iraq. There may also be worse reprisals from militias supported by Iran.