Jul 12, 2020 - World

Iran claims misalignment of radar system caused downing of Ukrainian plane

A woman and child look onto a memorial surronded by flowers for the passengers and crew of Ukrainian Boeing 737
Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Iranian investigators claimed in a report issued Saturday that the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet near Tehran was due to a misalignment of an air defense unit's radar system, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Iran initially denied any involvement in the January crash, which killed all 167 passengers and crew members on board. The Iranian government later admitted that its forces mistakenly fired a missile at the plane.

  • The aircraft was shot down as tensions between Iran and the U.S. ran high following a drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Iraq just days prior.

The state of play: The report claims that "a failure occurred due to a human error in following the procedure” for aligning the radar, per the Post.

  • The missile operator allegedly attempted to contact supervisors but received no response.
  • The first two missiles were fired 20 seconds later.

Go deeper...What we know: Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashes in Tehran

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