Iranian missile system shot down Ukrainian flight, likely by mistake, sources say


The Ukrainian flight that crashed just outside the Iranian capital of Tehran was hit by an anti-aircraft missile system, a Pentagon official, a senior US intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official said. News week. None of the officials have been allowed to speak publicly on the matter.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737-800 en route from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport to Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport, stopped transmitting data on Tuesday just minutes after take-off and shortly after time after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing US and Allied forces in neighboring countries. Iraq. The plane was reportedly hit by a Russian-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system known to NATO as the Gauntlet, the three officials said. News week.

A Pentagon and a senior US intelligence official said News week that the Pentagon’s assessment is that the incident was accidental. Iran’s anti-aircraft systems were likely active in the wake of the country’s missile attack, which came in response to the US murder last week of the Quds Revolutionary Guard Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, sources said.

“Well, I have my suspicions,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House after News weekreport of. “He was flying in a pretty tough neighborhood and someone could have made a mistake.”

U.S. Central Command declined to comment on the matter when contacted by News week. The National Security Council and the State Department have yet to respond.

Of the 176 people on board, 82 were Iranian, 63 Canadian and 11 Ukrainian (including nine crew members), as well as 10 Swedes, seven Afghans and three Germans. None survived.

Rescue teams are working amid the debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 people crashed near Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital Tehran in the early morning of January 8, killing everyone on board.
AFP / Getty Images

The incident was first reported by semi-official Iranian media, which cited the country’s Red Crescent Society as assessing the root cause appeared to be mechanical failure. The Ukrainian embassy in Tehran shared this view in a statement, but later retracted, with Kiev warning not to draw conclusions from the preliminary assessments.

Images began circulating on Wednesday of what appeared to be fragments of an M-1 Tor missile allegedly found in a suburb southwest of Tehran. Ukraine’s Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danylov said in a statement Thursday that contact with a Tor M-1 system was among the potential causes for the destruction of the plane that his country was examining during the meeting. Ukrainian and Iranian officials.

Other potential scenarios involved a collision with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or other flying object, a technical malfunction, and a terrorist attack.

The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization also called on Canada and Sweden to cooperate in the crash investigation. -in the USA.

The Iranian government then released a statement saying it would follow International Civil Aviation Organization regulations and, in addition to inviting foreign officials to participate in the investigation, the country would allow Boeing to send a representative. to inspect the black box, which Abedzadeh had said was damaged.

Abedzadeh earlier Thursday dismissed speculation that a missile strike destroyed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. In a statement, he said the result was “scientifically impossible and such rumors make no sense.”

In a rare call Thursday, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, to whom he “stressed the need for Canadian officials to have rapid access to Iran to provide consular services, assistance in identifying the deceased. and participate in the accident investigation. “

Champagne said that “Canada and Canadians have many questions that will need to be answered.”

When asked if the Canadian government is or is considering the possibility that an anti-aircraft missile brought down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, Global Affairs spokeswoman Krystyna Dodds said her office should return to News week About that.

Later Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that his officials had received “intelligence from several sources, including our allies and our own intelligence” indicating “the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.” .

“It could well have been unintentional,” he added. “This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter. Canada is working with its allies to ensure that a thorough and credible investigation is conducted to determine the causes of this fatal accident.

iran, anti, air, missile, tor, system
The Tor-M1 air defense system is on display during an annual military parade that marks the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, in the capital Tehran on September 22, 2009.
ATTA KENARE / AFP / Getty Images

The Iranian missile strike against Iraqi military positions held by US troops was the latest in a series of violent events involving the two powers. Washington blamed the rocket attacks targeting U.S. personnel on Tehran-backed Iraqi militias and responded with deadly border strikes against those fighters, resulting in violent protests at the U.S. embassy, ​​an event soon followed by the assassination of Soleimani.

The two foes feuded for four decades but rarely confronted each other directly. The dispute between the United States and Iran dates back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution which exposed a Western-backed monarchy and saw diplomats held hostage at the Washington embassy in Tehran for more than 14 months.

Their mutual hostility only worsened when the United States supported Iraq’s invasion of Iran the following year, a deadly eight-year fight accompanied by so-called “tanker wars”. in the Persian Gulf. Shortly before the conflict ended, a US Navy warship shot down an Iranian airliner, Iran Air Flight 655, in 1988, killing all 290 people on board in a missile strike also believed to be accidental.

“[The] The Pentagon does not wish to escalate, especially since we have had our own incident for a long time, ”the senior US intelligence official said. News week in connection with the 1988 incident which still haunts Tehran and Washington’s troubled relations in one of the most important geopolitical hotspots.

The Persian Gulf is crucial for the global flow of oil. Unrest has now returned to the critical region and its waterways following Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal that granted Iran sanctions relief in return for cutting back on its nuclear activities. . The president opted for de-escalation after the recent Iranian missile attack, by widening the sanctions but also calling on the Islamic Republic to give up its support for militant groups and stop looking for a nuclear weapon, something Tehran has always denied wanting .

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