Iran says it is making arrests after its military shot down a passenger plane with a missile, killing 176 people (Ryan Pickrell)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 file photo, debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. The crash of a Ukrainian jetliner near Tehran this week that killed all 176 on board comes as a test for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who took office less than eight months ago with no prior political experience. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

Associated Press

  • Iran announced Tuesday that some individuals believed to be responsible for the Iranian shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 have been arrested.
  • Flight 752 was shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile last Wednesday amid elevated tensions with the US, Iran admitted over the weekend after days of denial.
  • Iran argues that this tragic disaster, which killed 176 people, was caused by human error, specifically the misidentification of a commercial airliner as an enemy cruise missile in the tense hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on US-occupied bases in Iraq.
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Iran announced Tuesday that it has begun making arrests of suspects believed to be responsible for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet amid swelling protests against the country's regime.

"Extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested," Iran judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said Tuesday, according to ABC News.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who said that those responsible for this tragedy "should be punished," has requested a special tribunal be tasked with investigating the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 disaster, which he called "a painful and unforgivable mistake."

Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 crashed just outside of Tehran last Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

Western intelligence concluded that the plane was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile. After days of denying Iranian involvement in the disaster, Iran admitted it shot down the aircraft. Iran initially blamed a mechanical malfunction as the cause of the crash.

In its admission of guilt, the Iranian foreign ministry attempted to lay some blame at the feet of the US. "Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster," Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted Friday.

The shoot-down occurred just hours after Iran had launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at military installations housing US and coalition forces in Iraq, and the Iranian military was on high alert.

The missile attack was carried out in response to a US drone strike a week earlier that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force.

The Iranian military said Saturday that it misidentified Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, which was on its way to Kyiv after taking off from Tehran, as a "hostile target." The commercial airliner was, according to Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC aerospace forces, was "presumed to be a cruise missile." Hajizadeh said he took full responsibility for the accident.

The identities of those arrested were not clear Tuesday, but it is possible they are IRGC troops and officers whose errors led to the shoot-down.

In addition to arresting individuals accused of bringing down the passenger jet, Iran has also arrested a few dozen protesters, as crowds take to the streets to protest the Iranian regime. 

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