The Iranian authorities, after firmly denying any responsibility for the crash of the Ukrainian Boeing 737, have confirmed today that it was indeed shot down by an Iranian missile, clouding the country in an even gloomier atmosphere, just days after the death of Qasem Soleimani. For Poles, this situation can be very reminiscent of the 2010 Smoleńsk plane crash, when the Russian authorities were also strongly denying any responsibility for the crash of the Polish presidential plane. For now, the Ukrainian officials are hesitant to make any harsh comments on the matter, and instead demand that Iran fully cooperates in investigating the crash, which took the lives of all 176 people on board.
The gruesome information was confirmed by Hassan Rouhani on Twitter yesterday.
“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. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake”.
Iran’s revolutionary guard commander, Amir ali Hajizadeh took responsibility for the deadly mistake.
“I was in the west of the country following the completion of missile strikes against the U.S. bases when I heard the heart-wrenching news of the Ukrainian airlines flight crash. When I confirmed what had happened, I really wished I could die myself. I said that I wished I could die to not witness such an event. For a lifetime we (IRGC) have made ourselves ready to die for the people. Today, we are trading our reputation with almighty God and in these very difficult circumstances, I am here before you to explain what happened”- says Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Commander.
The Ukrainian authorities demand full cooperation from the Iranian officials. The question remains, whether the wreckage will be returned to Ukraine, and if so, how soon will it happen considering the tense situation between Iran and the United States.
“Our team has gained access to the “black boxes”, we plan to begin reconstruction of the conversations in the near future. We also got access to the records of dispatchers of the flight control centre at Tehran airport and our pilots. We do not reject any version. We are not looking for a simple or more diplomatic path. We now want to find out the truth, To do that we want, for example, to create an international coalition that will conduct an investigation”- says Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainian Foreign Minister.
Hopefully, the investigation won’t be blocked by Iran the same way the 2010 Smoleńsk plane crash inquiries were slowed down by the Russians, who made sure any external investigations couldn’t reach a definite conclusion.