Iran has admitted to unintentionally shooting down the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed on Tuesday, killing 176 onboard.
The plane crashed hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases hosting U.S.
Officials said the aircraft ‘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 plane.
“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,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in a statement Saturday morning that the military had been on highest alert after launching the strikes in Iraq as retaliation for the killing of a top Iranian general by a U.S. airstrike.
In a statement Saturday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the investigation must continue.
“Iran has pleaded guilty to shooting down the Ukrainian plane. But we insist on the full admission of guilt,” Zelenskiy said. “We expect Iran to assure the readiness for a full and open investigation, bringing those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the victims, payment of compensation, official apologies through diplomatic channels.”
Iran has expressed condolences to the families of all of those killed.
Based on a preliminary conclusion by the armed forces, “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted.
Sixty-three Canadians were among those killed, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said. Also on board were 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 people from Sweden, 4 from Afghanistan, 3 Germans and 3 from the United Kingdom.