After a yearlong investigation, Iran’s civil aviation company on Wednesday launched its final report on the crash of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft that killed 176 individuals final 12 months, revealing no new particulars concerning the shootdown that has provoked outrage from affected nations and issues from UN investigators.
Following three days of denial in January 2020 within the face of mounting proof, Iran lastly acknowledged that its forces mistakenly downed the Ukrainian jetliner with two surface-to-air missiles.
In preliminary studies on the catastrophe final 12 months, Iranian authorities blamed an air protection operator who they mentioned mistook the Boeing 737-800 for an American cruise missile.
On the time, the US and Iran had been teetering on the sting of struggle.
An American drone strike had killed a high Iranian basic, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad and Iran retaliated with ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq.
A number of hours after the missile strike, an air protection operator on excessive alert outdoors Tehran opened fireplace on the industrial aircraft shortly after take-off due to an error in his radar system, Iran mentioned.
The nation’s long-awaited final report, which overseas governments and victims’ households hoped would shed extra gentle on the mysterious downing, got here to the identical cryptic conclusion.
“The accident plane was misidentified by the air protection unit within the suburbs of Tehran and, consequently, two missiles had been launched towards it,” the report mentioned. “The operation of plane had not imposed any error to the air protection unit.”
The 146-page investigation contains particulars concerning the timeline of occasions and evaluation of plane particles, however doesn’t establish culprits within the shootdown, clarify how the chain of command broke down, reply why authorities determined to maintain civilian airspace open as regional tensions soared or reply to different key questions.
Iran’s official rationalization has left investigators and aviation consultants unconvinced, with Canada’s particular adviser to the prime minister calling Iran’s narrative “tough to just accept” and missing in proof. Final month, Agnes Callamard, the UN particular rapporteur on extrajudicial, abstract or arbitrary executions, went additional. She referred to as the sequence of alleged errors “unreasonable” and mentioned Iran’s “a number of claims and tales create a most of confusion.”
In her report, the results of a six-month investigation, Callamard mentioned she had not discovered concrete proof that Iran had deliberately shot down the aircraft stuffed with its personal residents.
Nonetheless, she mentioned, the “reckless” nature of the errors and “inconsistencies” in Iran’s official rationalization “have led many to query whether or not the downing of Flight PS752 was not intentional.”
“One might even query whether or not there was an order or implicit encouragement by the chain of command,” she wrote, “to use deadly drive with out going by means of commonplace procedures and precautionary steps.”
Iran swiftly pushed again, with Overseas Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh lambasting Callamard’s report as “immature” and her enter as “unwarranted.” Iran insists the downing was a tragic mistake.
Compounding issues over Iran’s credibility, outspoken households of victims in Canada have reported harassment by Iranian authorities, starting from hateful messages and threatening telephone calls to suspicious automobiles tailing them at vigils.
Canada has confirmed its police are investigating instances of “harassment, intimidation and overseas interference” within the nation.