Iran has admitted it accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed on Wednesday morning, killing all 176 people on board.
President Hassan Rouhani said his country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake” and vowed to investigate and prosecute.
Iran’s military also issued a statement on the crash, an unusual move for such a secretive organization. The statement said Iran’s armed forces were on high alert at the time of the crash.
“Numerous defense centers around the country reported seeing increased activity on radar which caused a heightened sensitivity in the aerial defense centers of the country.”
After the Ukrainian airliner took off from Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran, it flew close to a sensitive military site “at an altitude and a condition of a flight that resembled (a) hostile target,” the statement added.
Some experts have criticized Iran for not closing off civilian airspace after launching missiles to prevent this type of incident.
“Human error … caused by US adventurism”: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also acknowledged the airliner was brought down by a missile, but said the United States bore partial responsibility.
“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” he said.
The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 11, 2020
My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences. https://t.co/4dkePxupzm
A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020
Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster
Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.