‘Several people detained’ for shooting down Ukrainian airliner
A number of people have been detained in Iran due to the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane with a missile, said the country’s judiciary reports.
Spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said investigations into the acccident were underway, but failing to give details.
President Hassan Rouhani said the probe would be presided by a “special court.”
Shortly after taking off from Tehran on Wednesday, Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 was brought down, killing all 176 people aboard. Most of them were Iranian and Canadian citizens.
Iran denied that its armed forces had shot down the plane for the first three days after the crash, and claimed that there had been a technical failure.
But as facts grew, the Revolutionary Guards said the missile defense system operator had mistaken the plane for a US cruise missile and fired at it.
President Rouhani emphasized that the “tragic event” should not be blamed solely on the person who “pulled the trigger.”
“Iranian armed forces admitting their mistake is a good first step,” he added. “We should assure people that it will not happen again.”
Iran’s air defences had been on the lookout before the shooting, as the country had just fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
Upon admitting responsibility, widespread outrage broke out in Iran, and demonstrators took to the streets in the capital and several other towns to condemn its clerical authorities, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.