Iran has finally admitted shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner earlier this week – but has blamed ‘US adventurism’ for the fatal ‘error’.
A military statement published by the country’s state TV said it mistook the aircraft for an enemy target and ‘unintentionally’ fired at the plane on Tuesday, killing 176.
Officials said the plane ‘took the flying posture and altitude of an enemy target’ as it neared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps base and soldiers did not recognize it as a passenger airliner.
The statement read: ‘Under these circumstances, because of human error, [the plane] came under fire.’
But the country’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said ‘US adventurism’ was to blame for the strike a week after an American drone killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
Zarif wrote: ‘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.’
Supreme leader Ali Khamenei also offered condolences to the victims’ families and called for an investigation on Saturday morning.