Iran plane downing: 'Several people detained' for shooting down airliner

Cheryl Sanders
January 15, 2020

Iran's judiciary on Tuesday announced that it has arrested "some people" over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet in Tehran last week.

Rivals: Hassan Rouhani's supporters vented ire at the military. It was the latest in a series of apologies by the leadership that has done little to quell public anger.

The deal has quickly unraveled since then, with Iran steadily breaking away from limits on its nuclear program and Europe unable to find ways to keep Tehran committed.

Iran says it has arrested an undisclosed number of suspects accused of a role in shooting down a Ukrainian airliner.

Iran, which initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the plane, acknowledged only on Saturday - three days after and in the face of mounting evidence - that its Revolutionary Guard had shot down the plane by mistake. It admitted the mistake on Saturday after days of denials.

Separately the New York Times said security camera footage showed two missiles were fired at the plane, more than 20 seconds apart.

But as evidence mounted, the Revolutionary Guards said the operator of a missile defence system had mistaken the aircraft for a USA cruise missile and fired at it.

A person who posted a video online last week of a missile striking the plane has been taken into custody by the elite Revolutionary Guards, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit", an Iranian statement said.

Two female protesters were reportedly shot and wounded in Tehran on Sunday night, while students protested yesterday at Sharif university in Tehran, widely considered one of Iran's top academic institutions.

'The police treated the people who had gathered with patience and tolerance, ' he said before the latest protests broke out.

A video that emerged on Tuesday showed an officer using an electric baton to shock a man as he writhed on the ground.

"Iran must take full responsibility", Trudeau said. The overall level of unrest is hard to assess because of restrictions on independent reporting.

The move comes as Iranians continue to protest against the government over the tragedy. The authorities killed hundreds of people to put down an uprising in November when demonstrators torched banks and petrol stations. Britain, in turn, summoned Iran's ambassador on Monday "to convey our strong objections" over the weekend arrest. He said he "obviously" would have liked to have been notified. Iran's Foreign Ministry, rather than the judiciary, would be responsible for any decision to expel him.

Iran is under intense global pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian worldwide Airlines plane. They said it was a catastrophic engine failure.

He said those responsible would be punished and the government would be accountable to Iranians and those nations who lost citizens.

"The reason there are [176] dead people, innocent, is because Iran shot a missile and shot down a commercial liner".

Tensions have been escalating since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, then reimposed sanctions that had been lifted under the accord. The missile struck the plane just hours after Iran launched an airstrike on Iraqi air bases housing USA troops, a retaliation for the drone strikes that had killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

"Demonstrations that had been attacking the US for killing Iran's top general quickly turned into calls of 'death to the dictator, ' a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei", as NPR's Peter Kenyon reported in the wake of the government's shifting narrative about the crash.

Trudeau has said he believes the victims would all be safely back in Canada right now had it not been for the recent escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States.

Other reports by iNewsToday