Saturday, January 11, 2020

Iran admits unintentionally shooting down the Ukraine plane

The NY Times reported that Iran Says It Unintentionally Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner. “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” President Hassan Rouhani said, as Iran reversed its claims that mechanical failure was to blame.

Here are essential excerpts.

Iran’s military announced early Saturday that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, blaming human error because of what it called the plane’s sharp, unexpected turn toward a sensitive military base.

International pressure had been building on Iran to take responsibility. American and allied intelligence assessments had already concluded that Iranian missiles brought down the plane, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, most likely by accident, amid the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

In Iran, a debate over how much blame the government bears threatened to destroy the national solidarity that followed the country’s conflict with the United States. Many Iranians said that their anger over the lack of accountability at the highest levels of government had quickly returned.

On social media, Iranians began expressing anger toward the military soon after the announcement, many of them using the term “harshest revenge,” which officials had repeatedly promised in the wake of the American drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a powerful Revolutionary Guards commander, last week.

“They were supposed to take their harsh revenge against America, not the people,” wrote Mojtaba Fathi, a journalist.

The military said it would undertake “major reform in operations of all armed forces” to make sure that such an error never happened again. It said Revolutionary Guards officials had been ordered to appear on state media and give the public a full explanation.

The Iranians asked the National Transportation Safety Board to help with the investigation, and the State Department granted waivers to allow the American agency to help. …

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