Zarif blames ‘US adventurism’ over tragic plane incident, offers apologies

January 11, 2020 - 11:3

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday expressed apologies and condolences to all those who have been affected by the tragic Ukrainian plane incident near Tehran, saying “the U.S. adventurism” has led to this tragedy.

The remarks by Zarif followed after the Iranian military found out that the Ukrainian passenger plane had been shot down by mistake.

A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:

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.
💔

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020

“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” Zarif tweeted.

“Our profound regrets, apologies, and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” Zarif added.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Armed Forces General Staff issued a statement declaring that the Ukrainian passenger plane was downed due to “human error” in an air defense base near Tehran.

The plane was shot down mistakenly a few hours after Iran fired missiles at a U.S. airbase in western Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 30.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander the IRGC aerospace unit, told a press conference on Saturday that Iran’s air defense systems had been put on the “highest level of readiness” and alerted to a possible cruise missile attack by the U.S. prior to the plane incident.

Taking full responsibility for the accident, the commander said he is ready to obey any decision made by officials.

Hajizadeh said the operator of an air defense base near Tehran mistook the doomed jetliner with a cruise missile. 

He said the operator failed to obtain confirmation from the higher ranks because of disorder in the communication systems, and finally decided to fire at the target as there was only 10 seconds left for making a decision, Tasnim reported. 

All 176 people aboard the Ukrainian plane died in the incident. The plane was flying from Tehran to Kiev.

The Armed Forces said those responsible for shooting down the passenger jet would "immediately" be brought before military court.

NA/PA


 

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