ER Editor: We’re also linking to a short report by PressTV titled Iran: Ukrainian plane brought down ‘due to human error’, with an analysis of the situation below provided by former German intelligence officer who blogs as Moon of Alabama (MOA). RT has also picked up the story. See Iran admits shooting down Ukrainian flight over Tehran in ‘unintentional’ missile launch. Also Zelensky demands full investigation into plane crash by Iran with access for Ukrainian experts.
Interestingly, Deep State mouthpiece the Washington Post, cited by MOA below, has claimed that another high-value Iranian military figure operating in Yemen, Abdul Reza Shahlai was also the target of illegal assassination, in addition to Iran’s Soleimani and Iraq’s al-Muhandis. (WaPo has a paywall. See here.)
Iranian Armed Forces Say They Inadvertently Shot Down The Ukrainian Plane
MOON OF ALABAMA
The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff just admitted (in Farsi) that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran (machine translation, slightly edited for readability):
In the hours after the missile strikes, US terrorist forces’ warplanes around the country increased, and some reports of air strikes targeting strategic centers in the country were reported to numerous defense units and targets on some radar plates. It has caused more sensitivity in air defense units.In such critical conditions, the Ukrainian Airlines departs from Imam Khomeini Airport and, while in rotation, was in close proximity to a sensitive military center of the IRGC and in a height and shape of a hostile aircraft. In these circumstances, the plane was accidentally hit by a human error, which unfortunately results in the martyrdom of dear compatriots and the death of a number of foreign nationals.
The Armed Forces General Staff sends condolences to the families of missing persons of other countries and apologizes for the human error, ensures that this will not happen again by carrying out major reforms in operational processes at armed forces level to make such errors impossible and immediately report it to the Armed Forces Judicial Organization to deal with the errors committed legally.
It is welcome that the Iranian forces have come clean about the incident.
That is not a given in such cases.
After the USS Vincennes in 1988 had shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people, including many children, the U.S. government denied any culpability. George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time, commented: “I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.” Despite its “error” the crew was given medals and the captain was even awarded a Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer …”.
[ER: Just to continue the story – Iran retaliated for this some months later in 1988 with the downing of Pan Am flight 103, which went down over Lockerbie, Scotland. Iran claimed responsibility for it, but Western governments lied repeatedly, blaming it on Libya’s Gaddafi instead. More perception management of us to engineer fake wars.]
We can be assured by the statement of Iran’s president that the responsible Iranian officer will receive no such a reward:
Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani – 4:43 UTC · 11 Jan 2020
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. #PS752The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.
My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.
Let us also not forget that the root cause of the accident was an assassination campaign which the U.S. launched against foreign military commanders of a country with which it is not at war:
On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen. The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The U.S. executed a long planned campaign against several Iranian officers in third countries without any reasonable justification:
“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qasem Soleimani,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper have likewise supported the case for an imminent plot. “Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No,” Milley told reporters this week. “But he was planning, coordinating and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region, and it was imminent.”
Can there be any “imminent threat” when one does not know the “who, what, when, where” of the threat? Why would killing a high officer prevent the execution of such a threat? The excuse is obviously bullshit.
(ER: Here MOA is talking about the so-called Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self-Defence. We remind readers of an excellent recent piece by Craig Murray, who discusses this doctrine, named after Daniel Bethlehem, QC, who contrived this doctrine of so-called ‘imminent threat’ to get the war in Iraq started for Tony Blair and Bush Jr. over non-existent WMDs. Murray’s point is that ‘imminent’ doesn’t mean what we normally think it means; in fact, it means precisely nothing. MOA is entirely justified in calling it bullshit.)
It was the U.S. assassination of the Iraqi and Iranian national heroes Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and Major General Qassem Suleimani that led to the high alarm and nervousness which, in the end, killed 176 passengers and crew on board of flight PS 752.
Iran’s foreign minister is right to point that out:
Javad Zarif @JZarif – 4:05 UTC · 11 Jan 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
Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.
The death of the people on flight PS 752 is the tragic outcome of unreasonable U.S. aggression.
Update 11:00 UTC
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp IRGC’s Aerospace Commander Amir-Ali Hajizadeh just gave press conference. It was an IRGC air defense unit that shot the plane down.
IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I wish I was dead and such an incident hadn’t happened. We in IRGC accept all the responsibility, and are ready to implement any decision made by the Establishment.IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I was in the country’s west following attacks on US base in Iraq when I heard the news. We sacrificed our lives for our people for a lifetime, and now we’re trading our reputation with God (disgracing ourselves) and appear in front of the camera to explain.
IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says we had requested the establishment of a no-fly zone given the war situation. But it was not approved for certain considerations.
Revision: IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says Air Defence operator sent a message to his commanders; but after he didn’t receive any response for 10 seconds, he decided to shoot it down.
Video of IRGC Aerospace Cmdr. showing the place on map where the Ukrainian plane was shot down by the air defence.
IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I informed Iranian officials on Wednesday morning, and said we speculate our own passenger plane has been shot down. But the General Staff of Armed Forces quarantined all those who knew about it, and decided to declare it later.
IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: The officials, including Aviation authorities, who kept denying the missile hit, are not guilty. They made those remarks based on what they knew. We are to blame for everything.
IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: We were at that time ready for an all-out war with US. We had reports of cruise missiles fired at Iran. It was an individual’s error that caused this tragedy.
What I find inexplicable is that the crew of Tor M-1 air defense system did not really consider that the Tehran airport was operating and that civil traffic was likely. More than ten planes had already taken off before the Ukrainian flight took to the air. The accident happened shortly after 6:00 am local time. Pure speculation: I suspect that a crew change happened at 6:00 am and that the overnight crew did not really brief the one taking over.
Another leak (ukr) from the Ukrainian side of the investigation gives some hints on how the plane came down (machine translation):
“We took up the restoration of fragments of the aircraft. It was necessary to determine how these pieces of metal dumped into a huge pile should be interconnected.The intrigue remained until late. The fact is that there was no damage on most parts of the aircraft. There was no explosion and no fire in the engines or on the wings. It is possible that the plane could fall almost intact. Unlike the remains of the Boeing MN-17, there were no immediately visible signs of defeat by combat elements on the fuselage and wings. A lot of damage to the case is the result of a fall. But after laying out all the fragments of the aircraft, it became obvious that the bottom of the cockpit was missing.
Among the wreckage, fragments of the upper part of the cabin were identified. And then the find finally took place – at about 22 hours. On a fragment of the cockpit, we found holes in the damaging elements of the warhead of the rocket, which pierced the skin. We found! For the first time, direct evidence appeared in this case, which made it possible to prove what caused the death of the aircraft. For us it was a turning point.
So what we now understand:
Russian anti-aircraft missile “Tor” hit the liner in the lower part of the front of the fuselage, directly under the cockpit.
A direct hit and the cabin flared up inside. Instantly turned off the transponder of the aircraft, which gives signals about the flight. Instantly lost contact.
While there is no data, one or two missiles have caused such damage. It is possible that the second missile also hit the fuselage from below close to the first. But all this remains to be clarified.
We continue to lay out fragments of the aircraft until the complete collection of all surviving parts.
We expect that today we will gain access to all objective control data.
In cooperation with Iranian colleagues, we get the impression that those who contact us sincerely want to help themselves and figure it out, in general, there are no problems. Let’s hope that such a mood and working contacts remain with us now.”
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