Iran announces arrests in shootdown of Ukrainian plane that sparked protests

Brenda Watkins
January 14, 2020

Despite initially claiming Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed because of a technical fault, the Iranian government admitted the plane was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile because it was mistaken for a "hostile flight" Saturday morning.

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

The five include Canada, which had at least 57 passport holders on the flight, many of them Iranian-Canadian students and academics heading home after holiday visits.

Iran's president on Tuesday also called for a special court to be set up to probe the incident.

Several people have been detained in Iran over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane with a missile, the country's judiciary says. "This is not an ordinary case".

On Saturday, Iranian authorities briefly arrested British Ambassador Rob Macaire, who said he went to the candlelight vigil to pay his respects and left as soon as the chanting began. There are others, and I want this matter to be explained to people honestly....

The plane was shot down hours after Iran fired missiles into Iraq in retaliation over the USA drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, a top general in the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). No one was hurt in that attack, which was carried out to avenge the stunning killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.

"The U.S. makes its determinations".

Esper, in another interview, told CNN's "State of the Union" that he believed Soleimani was "days away" from launching an attack on US facilities when the drone attack killed him January 3. I watched videos published by activists on Instagram, but here in the U.S.

O'Brien said the U.S.'s "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran is working.

"Iranian armed forces admitting their mistake is a good first step".

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Trump precipitated the escalation between the United States and Iran in 2018 by pulling out of an agreement between Tehran and world powers under which sanctions were lifted in return for Iran curbing its nuclear programme.

The body of one of the Ukrainian pilots killed in the Boeing 737 crash in Tehran has been identified in Iran, TSN reports, citing its sources. There were four Britons on board and several children among the passengers, including an infant.

"I felt like it was my closest dearest friend", she said.

Van Themsche said the agency also will investigate why Iranian airspace was not closed to civilian traffic when Iran launched attacks on Iraqi military bases.

Iran's acknowledgement of the shootdown and the lack of transparency around it triggered protests in Tehran and elsewhere, with hundreds of people taking to the streets to direct their ire towards senior officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, amid allegations of being misled.

Reuters said videos showed blood on the ground and images of people who appeared to be security personnel in the vicinity of protests carrying rifles.

"We are seeking full assurances from the Iranian government that it will never happen again", he said.

Videos posted late on Sunday recorded the gunfire around protests in Tehran's Azadi Square.

"The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of worldwide law", the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

On Sunday, the TSB said it had obtained visas for two of its investigators to travel to Iran.

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