Published: Sun, January 12, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran's Downing of Ukrainian Jetliner an 'Awful Mistake', Says US official

Iran's Downing of Ukrainian Jetliner an 'Awful Mistake', Says US official

A candlelight ceremony late Saturday in Tehran turned into a protest, with hundreds of people chanting against the country's leaders - including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - and police dispersing them with tear gas.

Several Iranian media outlets on Sunday joined a chorus of domestic and global criticism for both the shooting down of the airliner on Wednesday morning and the subsequent days of official denials that an Iranian missile was responsible.

"Apologise and resign", Iran's moderate Etemad daily wrote in a banner headline on Sunday, saying the "people's demand" was for those responsible for mishandling the plane crisis to quit. The leadership is also struggling to keep the crippled economy afloat under rigorous USA sanctions.

His message came after Iranian police dispersed students chanting "radical" slogans, according to Fars news agency, during a Saturday gathering in Tehran to honor those killed when the Ukraine International Airlines plane was shot down shortly after taking off from Tehran.

The plane crash early Wednesday killed all 176 people on board, mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake".

"This was a bad tragedy", the senior administration official said, adding that "ultimately, Iran made an awful mistake".

The commander said the Guards had requested commercial flights be halted but he said the requests were not acted upon.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted "human error" was to blame for the downing of the passenger jet. Iran's Revolutionary Guards, in a rare step, apologized to the nation and accepted full responsibility.


"The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment".

"There cannot be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching".

Iran and Ukraine are calling the USA and Canada to disclose information supporting these claims in a time when canadian officials are preparing to participate in the investigation of the crash. Some lawmakers said the envoy should leave Iran before being ejected, media reported.

This meeting takes place against the backdrop of the looming threat of a new round of tensions between Iran and the West.

Protests inside Iran followed a build up of tension between Iran and the United States, which withdrew from Tehran's nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and then re-imposed sanctions that have steadily crippled the Iranian economy.

The admission could seriously dent the sense of national unity that built after the January 3 killing by the USA of Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani - a hero to many Iranians for his work in Iraq and Syria helping to defeat Islamic State. Tehran responded with missile strikes on USA targets in Iraq.

A total of 167 passengers and nine crew members were killed on Wednesday as a result of the crash of the Ukrainian Boeing 737, which was flying from Tehran to Kiev. In another video circulated on social media, demonstrators chanted, "Khamenei have shame!" His father died in exile in 1980.

"We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage", he added. Iranians on social media asked why officials were busy fending off criticism from overseas rather than sympathising with grieving families.

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