Iran Makes Initial Arrests of Those Responsible for Downing of Ukrainian Jet

14 Janvier, 2020, 18:27 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Iran says it has made arrests over plane disaster as protests rage

Iran announced Tuesday its first arrests over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet, as protesters vented their anger over the catastrophic blunder for a fourth consecutive day.

Iran shot down the plane when it was bracing for possible USA retaliation for a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing United States troops in Iraq.

After days of denying blame, Iran acknowledged on Saturday that it had mistakenly shot down the plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board shortly after it took off from Tehran for Kyiv.

Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said some of those accused of having a role in the plane disaster had already been arrested.

Protesters, many of them students, have held daily demonstrations since then, chanting "Clerics get lost!" and calling for the removal of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in power for more than 30 years.

Rouhani today called for a special court to be set up to probe the "painful and unforgivable" mistake which killed 176 people including dozens of Iranians. The whole world will be watching'.

Rouhani vowed that his administration will pursue the case "by all means", saying all those found responsible "should be punished". There are others, and I want this matter to be explained to people honestly....

The cause of the crash was initially shrouded in mystery, with Iran insisting repeatedly that the plane had suffered a technical fault.

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Rescue workers search the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran.

While Rouhani pointed to mistakes and negligence, he also repeated the government's line that the tragedy was ultimately rooted in US aggression. Soleimani had led the elite Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in operations throughout the region over the past 20 years, backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supporting Shiite militia groups in Iraq, including against USA troops during the Iraq War. It was the US that created an unusual situation.

Speaking to CBC, Gilmore said, "I did see a direct line between the impeachment and the president afterwards being outraged at how unfairly treated he saw himself and continually trying to change the topic to the economy or to the strength of the USA military".

The Kiev-bound plane was shot down at a time when Iran's armed forces were on heightened alert after launching a volley of missiles at Iraqi bases housing United States troops.

On Monday night, Canada's Transportation Safety Board said its investigators flying to Tehran would be granted access to the wreckage and black box flight recorders of the downed airliner. The passengers included 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians.

"I have spoken to him and I have talked about the need to de-escalate tensions", said Trudeau. Iran retaliated with attacks against American forces in Iraq, which the USA said caused no US casualties.

Despite such footage, Tehran police chief Brig-Gen Hossein Rahimi insisted that his officers did not fire live ammunition at protesters, as security forces did when cracking down on mass anti-government demonstrations in November.

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