Iran has admitted “mistakenly” shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on Saturday, via his Twitter handle said “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.”
He described the crash as an “unforgivable mistake”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he tweeted.Iran had previously rejected claims that it was responsible for the crash, insisting that it was as a result of mechanical issues after American officials said intelligence indicated an Iranian missile shot the plane down.
U.S. President Donald Trump also stated that he had “suspicions” the plane was shot down by “mistake”.
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that intelligence from multiple sources showed the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile.
The downing of the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, on Wednesday, came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing U.S. forces in Iraq.
The strikes were a response to the killing of senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.
In a statement early Saturday, Iran’s military announced that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, blaming human error because of what it called the plane’s sharp, unexpected turn toward a sensitive military base. The military said the person responsible would face legal consequences.
“In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit,” it said.
The military apologized, saying it is improving its systems to ensure such mistake wouldn’t happen again.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed the U.S. for Iran’s mistaken decision to shoot down the plane.
“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” he tweeted.