Iran makes arrests over accidental downing of Ukrainian airliner

Via, Jan. 14, 2020:

“Arrests have been made in connection with the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran, Iran’s judiciary has announced, following President Hassan Rouhani’s call for a special probe into the deadly accident.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told Iranian state media on Tuesday that individuals had been detained as part of “extensive investigations” into the incident. He did not disclose how many people had been arrested.
Earlier, Rouhani said in a speech that a special court should be established to try the case. He noted that “the entire the world will be watching this court” and vowed that responsible parties would be brought to justice.

Iran’s president also called the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) admission that it shot down the plane a “first good step” towards ensuring the matter is properly dealt with.” [snip]

“Iran’s military claims that it never sought to cover up its mistake and had immediately informed authorities about the incident, but that this information was withheld from the public pending further investigation into the matter.”

Most corporate news sites reference FARS News for the announcement, but their English version sure doesn’t have it.  The above site has the least inflammatory coverage I’ve seen; most not only indict “Iran” for not coming clean immediately, and blame Iran having admitting to the truth of having shot down the jet given “huge demonstrations within Iran calling for the ouster of the Dictator!”, as well as ‘enormous international pressure.  One case in point here, and another here re: Australia.

Berlin, London and Paris threaten Iran over 2015 nuclear treaty’, Alex Lantier, 14 January 2020  He opens with:

“After the US assassination in Baghdad of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, Berlin, London and Paris issued a fraudulent joint letter Sunday, denouncing Iran as a threat to peace and demanding it respect the 2015 nuclear treaty Washington repudiated in 2018.

The statement, reeking of hypocrisy, serves as a warning amid the danger of all-out war in the Middle East. One cannot halt the spiral of imperialist demands, threats, provocations and murder by appealing to the conscience of capitalist governments like Washington’s European allies. Anti-war sentiment in the working class, rising hand in hand with growing strikes and social protests against austerity and police repression, must take a politically independent form.

In their letter, the European powers pass over in total silence the extrajudicial murder of Suleimani in gross violation of international law, mass protests in the Middle East against his killing and the three decades of US-European wars in the Middle East since the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq. These wars killed or wounded millions and turned tens of millions into refugees.

Instead, they denounce Iran for “destabilising” the Middle East. They write, “Recent events have highlighted Iran’s destabilising role in the region, including through the IRGC and Al-Qods force. Our commitment to the security of our allies and partners in the region is unwavering. We must address—through diplomacy and in a meaningful way—shared concerns about Iran’s destabilising regional activities, including those linked to its missile programme.”

But what they don’t cover in Rouhani’s call to the judiciary:

‘Rouhani: Judiciary should form special court to investigate plane crash’, January 14, 2020

“In a press conference on Monday, government spokesman Ali Rabiei acknowledged that the country’s defective cycle of information was the cause of misinforming people about the cause of the plane crash, expressing official apology for the shortcoming.

The downing happened a few hours after Iran fired dozens of missiles at a U.S. airbase inside Iraq in retaliation to the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3. According to IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the operator at the airbase had mistaken the plane for an attacking cruise missile.” [snip]

Rabiei criticized the defective cycle of information, saying, “In fact, the government itself is wrapped in a defective cycle of providing and receiving information.”

“Some people are criticizing that why the government did not conduct more studies before announcing its stance, but, we sent several inquiries to the relevant officials before releasing our view and the entire relevant officials, based on their information at the time, told us that there were no any missile fire,” Rabiei explained.

“Hereby, we apologize to the dear Iranian nation, public opinion and journalists,” he added.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Sunday that Iran had no intention to hide causes of the plane crash.

“From the beginning of the crash, we had no intention to hide its causes,” he said during a memorial service for two victims of the crash.

It took time to announce the causes due to necessity to investigate all hypotheses, especially “possible actions of the enemies in jamming”, “hack of the systems” and “the issue of infiltration”, explained Shamkhani who served as defense minister in the Khatami administration from 1997 to 2005. [snip]

“Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi on Monday vowed to fully observe justice in probing the plane crash case.

“In pursuing the case of the downed plane, justice will be implemented irrespective of any circumstances,” Raisi said, Tasnim reported.” [snip]

“Major General Hossein Salami, chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said on Sunday that he wished he was on the downed plane so he could avoid the shame of making such a colossal mistake.”

We’ll sure be wondering what they’ve discovered, or will discover as far as the bolded text, won’t we?  What will further investigations of the arrestees find?
From the Twittersphere:

@realDonaldTrump  To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!

@SecPompeo 17h17 hours ago

We don’t know how the Iranian regime will react as we continue to re-build deterrence. We hope they’ll make the right choice and return to the negotiating table. We hope they share our desire for peace. But no matter what, we will put the security of the American people first.

(cross-posted at

One response to “Iran makes arrests over accidental downing of Ukrainian airliner

  1. explosive, if highly dubious evidence:

    (a few outtakes)
    “The Times has confirmed that the new video was filmed by a camera on the roof of a building near the village of Bidkaneh, four miles from an Iranian military site. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ airspace unit, said that missiles were launched from a base near there.

    Flight activity from Tehran’s international airport was normal on the morning of Jan. 8, the flight data showed, and Flight 752 followed its regular route. It was one of 19 planes that took off from Tehran in the hours after Iran launched missiles at military bases in Iraq housing American troops.

    The new video was uploaded to YouTube by an Iranian user around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

    The date visible on the footage is “2019-10-17,” not Jan. 8, the day the plane was downed. We believe this is because the camera system is using a Persian calendar, not a Gregorian one. Jan. 8 converts to the 18th of Dey, the 10th month in the Persian calendar. Digitally that would display as 2019-10-18 in the video. One theory is that the discrepancy of one day can be explained by a difference between Persian and Gregorian leap years or months.”

    now’s coverage had included this:

    ““A video uploaded to social media on Thursday and verified by the New York Times appears to show a missile striking an aircraft near the location where a Ukrainian plane lost contact before crashing and killing everyone aboard on Wednesday.

    The footage, first posted on Twitter by user Nariman Gharib, shows a fast-moving object soaring through the night sky before colliding with another object over Iran. The impact caused a loud explosion that could be heard from miles away.
    The Times reported the video shows a missile hitting the Boeing 737 bound for Ukraine.

    Initial reports from the Iranian government claimed the crash was likely caused by mechanical difficulties, according to the Washington Post. But the timing of the tragedy was unusual, as it occurred just hours after the country launched missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops.

    On Thursday, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization chief Ali Abedzadeh said the plane was “on fire” before the crash, BBC News reported.

    but bellingcat online investigations used that same video above!

    but the WSJ coverage, oh, my. ‘Ukraine Airliner Hit By a Second Missile Over Iran, New Video Shows‘, but this is just like bellingat crowd-sourced online investigations

    “Surveillance video from Iran circulating on social media Tuesday appears to show two missiles hitting the Ukrainian passenger jet downed over Tehran, fired approximately 30 seconds apart, providing new information about the tragedy that killed 176 people on the plane.:

    The video was verified by Storyful, a social-media-intelligence company owned by News Corp, parent of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. It raises new questions about how forthcoming Iranian authorities were when, after three days of denial, they admitted they had mistakenly struck the Ukraine International Airlines flight without mentioning a second missile.” : ‘The world’s social media intelligence and news agency; We analyze conversations and content across digital platforms — from mainstream to fringe networks — to make sense of what’s happening on social media’.

    brilliant; just brilliant.

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