Iran changed course Saturday, admitting to unintentionally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet with 176 people on board this week. But Tehran didn't want to let the United States off the hook for the disaster in its apology.
Iran's armed forces headquarters released a statement explaining that the Boeing 737 aircraft "came close to a sensitive [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] military center at an altitude and flight condition that resembled hostile targeting," which prompted the fatal error. The IRGC took full responsibility for the incident, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran "deeply regrets this disastrous mistake," and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his "deep sympathy" to the victims, who were from Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. But Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif did link the event to the U.S.'s decision to kill Iranian Major Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Iraq earlier this month. "Human error at [a] time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster," Zarif tweeted.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv expects Tehran to launch a "full and open" investigation and "bring those responsible to justice." Rouhani said investigations and prosecution would continue. Read more at CNN and NBC News.
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