* By Mohammad Ghaderi

Ukrainian plane incident: Historical records and Iran’s responsibility 

January 11, 2020 - 17:50

TEHRAN - The downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane over Iran’s airspace on Wednesday morning, apart from the great sorrow that it caused, was only a repetition of similar events that have been recurring continuously in the contemporary world. The only difference between the recent crash near the Imam Khomeini International Airport and similar crashes around the world is that none of those governments regretted the incidents but Tehran did.     

The reasons behind the tragic downing of the Boeing 737 airliner near Tehran were announced by Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff. It listed human error, the security situation in the region and the U.S. warmongering policy as the chief reasons.

The Armed Forces General Staff, in a statement on Saturday morning, expressed condolences and sympathized with the Iranian and non-Iranian families and formally apologized about the human error.

This article is trying to utilize a report by the AFP (Agence France-Press) covering similar air crashes to compare Tehran’s reaction to the event with the other governments.  

Base on the AFP report, the Malaysian MH 17 airliners was targeted by a missile in the eastern part of Ukraine where a civil war was raging in July 2014. The entire 298 passengers on board lost their lives in the crash. None of the sides involved in the civil war in Ukraine accepted responsibly over the missile attack.

In March 23, 2007, a Belarusian cargo plan was targeted and downed by a missile as few seconds after the plane took off from the Mogadishu international airport. Eleven people were killed in the crash.  

In October 24, 2001, a Russian Topolev airliner that was flying from Tel Aviv towards Novosibirsk was exploded over the Black Sea. A week later, Kiev admitted that a Ukrainian missile had downed the plane. It left 78 people dead.    

In July 1988, Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300 with 290 people on board, was targeted and blown up by a missile fired from the U.S. navy’s guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes as it was flying over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The entire 290 passenger and crew on board were killed at the scene. The U.S., though paying money to compensate for the deaths of the plane’s passengers, never apologized and even the U.S. navy awarded a medal of honor to the commander of the warship. 

In September 1983, a South Korean airliner was targeted and downed mistakenly by the former Soviet Union’s fighter jets over Sakhalin Island. 269 passengers and crew on board the Boeing lost lives in the incident.  

In February 1973, an airbus of the Libyan airliner was targeted and downed by the Zionist regime of Israel’s air defense units as the plane had approached an Israeli military facility in the Sinai Deseret. 108 passengers and crew were killed in the incident. 

The AFP report testifies that such incidents are inevitable in warlike situations; however, Iran honestly revealed the truth and expressed its apology for the error that it called “painful”. 

With a glance at similar events, none of the governments whose airspace had been the scene of such incidents accepted responsibly for their faults. For Instance, neither separatists in eastern Ukraine nor the pro-government fighters accepted responsibly for the downing of the Malaysian plane and nobody apologized about the error. 

The same story happened for Iran Air Flight 655. The U.S. that has always been claiming as a defender of human rights never apologized about the incident. It even awarded a medal of honor to the man that had ordered the shooting. 

* Author: Mohammad Ghaderi , Tehran Times editor in chief 

His page on Twitter : @ghaderi62 - and Gmail address : m.ghaderi62@gmail.com