10 indicted in Iran over shooting down of passenger plane

10 Indicted In Iran Over Shooting Down Of Passenger Plane
Debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, south-west of Tehran, Iran, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Jon Gambrell, Associated Press

Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, a prosecutor said.

The announcement comes just as Tehran begins indirect negotiations with the West over its collapsed nuclear deal with world powers.

The timing of the announcement comes after Iran faced withering international criticism last month for releasing a final report into the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight number PS752 that blamed human error but named no-one responsible for the incident.

Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki similarly avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments on Tuesday while handing over his office to Nasser Seraj.

The semi-official ISNA news agency and the Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency both reported the remarks, without elaborating.

People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash at the gate of Amri Kabir University in Tehran, Iran, in January 2020 (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)


Following three days of denial in January 2020 in the face of mounting evidence, Iran finally acknowledged that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard mistakenly downed the Ukrainian plane with two surface-to-air missiles.

In preliminary reports on the disaster last year, Iranian authorities blamed an air defence operator who they said mistook the Boeing 737-800 for an American cruise missile.

The incident happened on the same day Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on US troops in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.

While Guard officials publicly apologised for the incident, the hesitancy of Iran to elaborate on what happened in the incident shows the power the force wields.

Following the release of Iran’s final investigative report, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba lambasted the findings as a “cynical attempt to hide the true causes of the downing of our passenger aircraft”.

He accused Iran of conducting a “biased” probe into the disaster that resulted in “deceptive” conclusions.

Many on the flight planned to connect in Kyiv to fly on to Canada, which is home to a large Iranian population.

Canada’s foreign and transport ministers similarly criticised the report, saying that it “has no hard facts or evidence” and “makes no attempt to answer critical questions about what truly happened”.

The announcement came just hours before Iran and the five world powers remaining in its atomic accord meet in Vienna, where the US is due to start indirect talks with Tehran.

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