You are currently viewing Anniversary of the plane down over Tehran – bereaved relatives rule out human error

13 Jan. 2022 19:31 Uhr

January 8th marked the second anniversary of the shooting down of the Ukrainian passenger plane in the airspace over Tehran. For the Iranian authorities, it was a human error. However, some bereaved relatives later sued and believe in intent. The US government spoke of an accidental shooting at the time.

The Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 passenger plane, which was shot down by two anti-aircraft missiles of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on January 8, 2020 when taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, had 176 people on board, including 147 Iranian nationals, 63 also had Canadian Citizenship. Everyone was killed. Investigations by the Iranian government revealed that a glitch in the military communication and command chain led to the fatal error.

This was mistakenly mistaken for a US cruise missile. In November last year, a controversial and partly politically motivated military tribunal was launched to deal with the lawsuits of some bereaved relatives. There have been no convictions so far.

The lawyer Mahmoud Aalizade Tabatabaeie represents the plaintiffs, who see the established military tribunal only as a diversionary maneuver for the government. A total of ten Iranian military personnel have been charged. However, the lawyer regrets that all of them have so far been at large. Six victim families in Canada were awarded $ 107 million Canadian dollars. This is to be paid out of the holdings of Iranian assets from Canada and other countries. The Canadian court came to the conclusion that it was an “act of terrorism”.

Anniversary commemoration

In view of the anniversary, some relatives and relatives are said to have come together at Tehran’s airport. Mohsen Asadi-Lari, former high-ranking official of the Ministry of Health and his wife Zahra Majd lost both children when the passenger plane was shot down. The parents of the two victims claim that the passenger plane was used as a “human shield”. However, they do not have any credible evidence to support this claim. This prevented the US from retaliation for an Iranian missile attack on US bases in 2020, the father claimed to the Saudi Arabia-sponsored news site Iran International: “We have come to the conclusion that they used the plane as a human shield. I want to be completely frank (…). They probably wanted to crash it and put the blame on the US.”

He sees statements by officials of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as alleged “evidence”. They admitted that a military confrontation with the United States could become realistic if the plane were not shot down.

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It was only on January 3 that the United States had deliberately murdered the Iranian IRGC commander of the Kuds unit, Major General Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq with a drone. Tehran then attacked US targets in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of the Iranian icon. The IRGC anticipated retaliation from Washington. The airspace remained open because of the failure of the Iranian government at the time.

After the Ukrainian passenger plane crashed over Tehran, the suspicion of accidental launch by an Iranian missile came to the fore in the United States. Unnamed US government officials had stated, citing satellite images, that the US government was certain that the Boeing had been shot down by an Iranian missile. It was “very likely” an oversight by the Iranian air defense.

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