Breaking news: Iran says it shot down Ukrainian jet
The Iranian government announced Saturday that its military was responsible for accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian commercial plane Wednesday.
According to the New York Times, the Iranian military stated that the Boeing 737-800 “took the flying posture and altitude of an enemy target”, making a "sharp, unexpected turn" toward a sensitive military base. "Under these circumstances, because of human error,” the plane “came under fire.”
Related: More than 170 killed in Ukrainian passenger jet crash in Iran
Iran further stated that the person who authorized the missile strike would be prosecuted; its military would undertake “major reform in operations of all armed forces” to ensure such an error never happened again; and that Revolutionary Guard officials would be required to give the public a full explanation via state media.
Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 departed Tehran early Wednesday morning bound for Kyiv, bearing 167 passengers and nine crew members. The flight crashed shortly after take off, leaving no survivors.
Initial statements Wednesday from Canadian and Iranian officials alike speculated that engine failure caused the crash, but mounting evidence quickly suggested otherwise.
Related: Reports suggest Iranian missile strike responsible for Ukrainian plane crash
Iranian and Canadian nationals comprised the majority of the passenger manifest, in addition to 11 Ukrainians, four Afghans, three Britons and four Germans. 57 were Canadian citizens, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Friday, while Iran's head of operations has stated that 147 of the victims were Iranian — a fact which suggests many of the victims held dual nationality, according to the BBC.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that 138 of the travelers listed their end destination as Canada.
Due to current political tensions, the Iranian government originally was reluctant to work with U.S.-based Boeing or the U.S. government on the investigation. But Iran eventually requested help from the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the New York Times, and the U.S. State Department granted waivers permitting the U.S. agency to assist investigation efforts.
Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP/Getty Images.