11 January 2020 — Moon of Alabama
The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff just admitted (in Farsi) that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran (machine translation, slightly edited for readability):
In the hours after the missile strikes, US terrorist forces’ warplanes around the country increased, and some reports of air strikes targeting strategic centers in the country were reported to numerous defense units and targets on some radar plates. It has caused more sensitivity in air defense units.
In such critical conditions, the Ukrainian Airlines departs from Imam Khomeini Airport and, while in rotation, was in close proximity to a sensitive military center of the IRGC and in a height and shape of a hostile aircraft. In these circumstances, the plane was accidentally hit by a human error, which unfortunately results in the martyrdom of dear compatriots and the death of a number of foreign nationals.
The Armed Forces General Staff sends condolences to the families of missing persons of other countries and apologizes for the human error, ensures that this will not happen again by carrying out major reforms in operational processes at armed forces level to make such errors impossible and immediately report it to the Armed Forces Judicial Organization to deal with the errors committed legally.
It is welcome that the Iranian forces come clean about the incident.
That is not a given in such cases.
After the USS Vincennes in 1989 had shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people, including many children, the U.S. government denied any culpability. George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time, commented: “I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.” Despite its “error” the crew was given medals and the captain was even awarded a Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer …”.
We can be assured that the responsible Iranian officer will receive no such a reward.
Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani –
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. #PS752
The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.
My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.
Let us also not forget that the root cause of the accident was an assassination campaign which the U.S. launched against foreign military commanders of a country with which it is not at war:
On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen
The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The U.S. executed a long planned campaign against several Iranian officers in third countries without any reasonable justification:
“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qasem Soleimani,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper have likewise supported the case for an imminent plot.
“Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No,” Milley told reporters this week. “But he was planning, coordinating and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region, and it was imminent.”
Can there be any “imminent threat” when one does not know the “who, what, when, where” of the threat? Why would killing a high officer prevent the execution of such a threat? The excuse is obviously bullshit.
It were the U.S. assassination of the Iraqi and Iranian national heroes Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and Major General Qassem Suleimani that led to the high alarm and nervousness which, in the end, killed 176 passengers and crew on board of flight PS 752.
Their death is the tragic outcome of unreasonable U.S. aggression.