Arrests have been made over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed all 176 people on board just after take-off from Tehran, Iran’s judiciary said on Tuesday.
- Several arrests were made after “extensive investigations” were conducted over the shootdown
- Iran’s President said the downing of the plane was an “unforgivable error”
- The incident killed 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries
The announcement came shortly after Iran’s President called for a special court to be set up to probe the downing last week of the plane by Iranian forces.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted by Iranian state media saying that “extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested.” He did not say how many individuals have been detained, or name them.
Iran, which initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the jetliner, acknowledged — three days after Wednesday’s downing and in the face of mounting evidence — that its Revolutionary Guard had shot down the Ukrainian plane by mistake.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Tuesday the downing of the Ukrainian plane was an “unforgivable error” and Iran will punish all those responsible for the accidental shooting, adding that the “tragic event” would be investigated thoroughly.
“Iranian armed forces admitting their mistake is a good first step … We should assure people that it will not happen again,” he said, adding that his Government was, “accountable to Iranians, and other nations who lost lives in the plane crash”.
“The judiciary should form a special court with a ranking judge and dozens of experts,” Mr Rouhani said.
“This is not an ordinary case. The entire the world will be watching this court.”
The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians — including many Iranians with dual citizenship — and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.
There were several children among the passengers, including an infant.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau blames US and Iranian leaders
Globalnews.ca @globalnews In an exclusive interview with @DFriesenGlobal , Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that in his opinion, the “tensions” in the region led directly to the downing of a passenger jet outside Tehran which claimed at least 57 Canadian lives.
On Tuesday, Justin Trudeau blamed the showdown between Donald Trump and Iran’s leaders for the deaths of the 176 people killed, saying they would still be alive if it was not for escalating tensions.
The Canadian leader said those who died when the aircraft was downed by an Iranian missile could have been “right now home with their families” if it was not for escalating tensions in the region.
“This is something that happens when you have conflict and war, innocents bear the brunt of it,” Mr Trudeau said in an interview with Global News Television on Monday.
Iran shot down the plane when it was bracing for possible US retaliation for a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq.
No one was hurt in that attack, which was carried out to avenge the killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.
The shootdown and the lack of transparency around it has reignited anger in Iran at the country’s leadership, with protesters taking to the streets in past days.