Government officially apologizes for mishandling of information about Ukrainian plane crash

January 14, 2020 - 14:22

TEHRAN - Government spokesman Ali Rabiei, in a press conference on Monday, acknowledged that the country’s defective cycle of information was the cause of misinforming people about the crash of the Ukrainian passenger plane, expressing official apology for the shortcoming. 

The plane, with 176 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on Wednesday morning by the IRGC air defense system. It happened a few hours after Iran fired dozens of missiles at the U.S. airbase inside Iraq in retaliation to the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3. According to IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the operator at the airbase had mistaken the plane for an attacking cruise missile.  

The victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.

Iran’s Armed Forces issued a statement on Saturday morning announcing that the Ukrainian passenger plane was shot down near the Imam Khomeini Airport due to a “human error”.

“The Ukrainian passenger plane was hit unintentionally and due to human error which unfortunately led to martyrdom of a number of our people and also a number of foreign nationals,” the statement read.

Rabiei criticized the defective cycle of information, saying, “In fact, the government itself is wrapped in a defective cycle of providing and receiving information.”

“Some people are criticizing that why the government did not conduct more studies before announcing its stance, but, we sent several inquiries to the relevant officials before releasing our view and the entire relevant officials, based on their information at the time, told us that there were no any missile fire,” Rabiei explained. 

“Hereby, we apologize to the dear Iranian nation, public opinion and journalists,” he added.  

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Sunday that Iran had no intention to hide causes of the plane crash.

“From the beginning of the crash, we had no intention to hide its causes,” he said during a memorial service for two victims of the crash. 

It took time to announce the causes due to necessity to investigate all hypotheses, especially “possible actions of the enemies in jamming”, “hack of the systems” and “the issue of infiltration”, explained Shamkhani who served as defense minister in the Khatami administration from 1997 to 2005. 

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in front of the main universities in Tehran to voice their protests over the late admission of downing the Ukrainian plane and misinforming the people. 

Similar protest gatherings were held in the country’s large cities on Saturday and Sunday.



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