Civilian Ukrainian Aircraft Downed by Iran


Tiffany Zhu, Staff Writer

After initially denying responsibility for the deaths of 176 people (82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukranians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans, 3 Britons, and 3 Germans) in the Ukranian Boeing 737-800 jet crash on Jan. 8, Iran has released a statement taking “full responsibility” for the tragedy. 

The Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, apologized, but was quick to add that the accident was a result of “human error caused by American adventurism.” This comes amidst growing tensions between Iran and the U.S. Iran was on high alert after President Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

Four hours before the single-aisle jet crashed outside of an airport in Tehran, Iran had launched retaliatory military strikes on U.S. forces in Iraq. In a statement broadcasted on state television Saturday, Jan. 11, Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces remarked that it had detected greater U.S. air activity and that the jetliner had approached a “sensitive military base” operated by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, resulting in Iran mistaking the Ukrainian aircraft for U.S. military aircraft. 

Current events have placed further pressure on Iran’s leadership following an economic crisis prompted by U.S. sanctions, the deaths of 59 people in a stampede during a funeral march for Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and casualties of hundreds of demonstrators killed by security forces in November. In an attempt to make amends for the downed Ukranian aircraft, Iran said that it would fully cooperate with Ukraine, Sweden, Britain, Canada and the U.S. to analyze the black box from the aircraft in France. Participation from Boeing, The Federal Aviation Administration, and General Electric Co. are also expected in the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has sworn that “the guilty will be punished.” Some world leaders have taken an equally strong approach towards Iran. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has vowed to secure accountability and compensation for the lives lost. “This is a national tragedy, and all Canadians are mourning together,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. 

When the UK ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, was detained after attending a vigil for the victims of the crash, Britain condemned Iran for its “flagrant violation of international law.” In addition to eliciting a global response, angry anti-government protests calling for change are at large in the streets of Iran. According to CNN, President Trump responded to public outcry on Jan. 12 by tweeting “Do not kill your protesters” to Iran’s leaders. President Trump went on to state, “Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching.” 


Photo courtesy of THEMOSCOWTIMES.COM