Iran vows to punish those responsible for downing Ukrainian plane

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2020

Iran says it has arrested an undisclosed number of suspects accused of a role in shooting down a Ukrainian airliner.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed near Tehran last Wednesday, just hours after the Iranian military fired multiple ballistic missiles into neighboring Iraq, targeting military bases housing American troops, in retaliation for the USA airstrike that killed Iran's most powerful general.

"We just want peace and this is the latest piece in a sequel", she said, "and the last few days, people are out in the streets of Iran, and we see videos of them being shot and threats to the families of people killed in the crash".

Images emerged from the previous two days of protests showing wounded people being carried and pools of blood on the ground, while the sound of gunfire could be heard. The overall level of unrest is hard to assess because of restrictions on independent reporting.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has today called the shoot-down of the Boeing passenger jet an "unforgivable error" and vowed to punish those responsible.

Meanwhile, Iran's judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein said that "some persons" were arrested for their role in bringing down the plane, without specifying details. His statement on the judiciary's website did not say how many individuals had been detained or name them.

"Anyone who should be punished must be punished", said Rouhani.

"Around 30 people have been arrested for taking part in illegal gatherings".

Gen Hajizadeh said he had informed "officials" on Wednesday about the unintentional strike.

It advised ships to refuse to allow Iranian forces to board but not to forcibly resist them, and to immediately contact the US Fifth Fleet.

On Monday, Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino reiterated that sentiment, asserting in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's The Current that the Trudeau government was doing everything it could to hold Iran accountable.

The disaster and subsequent unrest comes amid one of the biggest escalations between Tehran and Washington since 1979.

In a separate development on Monday, the UK Foreign Office summoned Iran's ambassador in London following the detention of his British counterpart in Tehran after he attended a vigil for victims of the Ukrainian plane crash.

At that night, the air defense was at the highest level of alert following IRGC's missile attacks against a USA base in Iraq, which came in retaliation for the US' assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Iran's authorities killed hundreds of protesters in November in what appears to have been the bloodiest crackdown on anti-government unrest since 1979.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, where Iran has wielded influence through a network of allied movements and proxies, governments that include powerful Iran-sponsored armed factions have faced months of hostile demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq.

One video posted on social media allegedly shows members of the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force, which is often used to suppress domestic dissent, attacking protesters in the area.

Iran's police denied firing at protesters.

The plane was shot down about 7,000 feet in the air, and Iranian officials have said that they were concerned about United States attacks at the time, meaning more radar coverage.

Representatives of Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain will be there.

"Yes, we know what has happened". And Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it clear what he feels is to blame for the death of 57 Canadians after the flight was shot down in Iranian airspace. The United States designated Soleimani a terrorist in 2011 under then-President Barack Obama.

"The US makes its determinations".

It said some vessels have reported communications from "unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships". "But sometimes countries take actions without informing their allies", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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