Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, has released a statement where he explained why his military shot down Ukrainian passenger airline with 176 onboard.
Iran, on Saturday morning, acknowledged that the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed on Wednesday was shot down by its military.
President Rouhani said bodies of victims of the crash would be returned to their countries and all necessary measures to compensate and sympathise with the bereaved families would be taken.
He also blamed the United States for the incident.
Rouhani’s lengthy statement described the incident as a “terrible catastrophe,” which resulted from an attempt to protect the country against the United States forces.
The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines and carrying mostly Iranians and Canadian-Iranians went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq.
Iran had earlier denied shooting down the plane, saying it was impossible for such thing to have happened.
This was after British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson had said that there is now a “body of information” that the airliner, which crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran, was shot down by an Iranian missile.
Also, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and the US had made a similar claim, revealing that it was actually Iran’s missile that shot down the Ukrainian airliner with 176 passengers on board.
But they all agreed that the action must have been taken unintentionally.
In a statement on Saturday, Rouhani said, “Noble people of Iran
With the utmost regret and sorrow, hours ago I was informed of the outcome of the General Staff of the Armed Forces’ investigation into the Ukrainian passenger plane crash.
“In the atmosphere of threats and intimidation by the aggressive American regime against the Iranian nation after the martyrdom of General Qasem Soleimani, and in order to defend ourselves against possible attacks by the American Army, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran were on full alert, which unfortunately led to this terrible catastrophe taking the lives of dozens of innocent people because of human error and mistaken shooting.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is deeply sorry by this disastrous mistake, and I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic incident on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and instruct all related organs to take all necessary measures to compensate and sympathise with the bereaved families.
“I also express my deep condolences and sympathy of the Iranian government to the nations, governments and families of non-Iranian victims.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be in full consular cooperation to identify and return the bodies of victims to their families.
“This painful accident is not something that can be easily overlooked. Further investigation is needed to identify all the causes and roots of this tragedy and prosecute the perpetrators of this unforgivable mistake and inform the honourable people of Iran and the families of the victims about it.
“It is also necessary to adopt the required arrangements and measures to address the weaknesses of the country’s defence systems to make sure such a disaster is never repeated.
“Again, I extend my condolences to the families of the victims of this painful accident, praying for those who lost their lives and wishing their bereaved families patience and rewards.”