After denying responsibility for downing Flight 752 on Wednesday that claimed lives of 176 people who were onboard, Iran has shifted their position and admitted they indeed shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane.
They however say the jet was unintentionally shot due to human error, at least according to a report on Friday evening by Iran State television which cited the military.
A statement was also issued on the Twitter account of Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister.
“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” reads the tweet posted late Friday.
“Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”
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.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020
Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Friday that the U.S. believes it is likely Iran shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.
“We are going to let the investigation play out before we make a final determination” on the next steps for the U.S., Pompeo said Friday at a news conference. “It’s important we get to the bottom of it.”
The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missile strikes against the two bases, including one in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil where Canadian special-forces soldiers have been operating for the past five years.
The incident happened amidst heightened tensions in the Middle East spurred by a U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week and a subsequent Iranian retaliation bombing of bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.
The attack, which did not cause any casualties, was in response to a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed last week.