Jan 11, 2020

Iran says it mistakenly shot down Ukrainian passenger plane

Search and rescue workers at the site after a Boeing 737 plane belonging to a Ukrainian airline that crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran just after takeoff. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran announced in a statement on Saturday (local time) that its military mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed on Wednesday, killing all passengers aboard, according to multiple reports.

What they're saying, per the Iranian military's statement: The Boeing 737 jetliner operated by Ukrainian International Airlines “took the flying posture and altitude of an enemy target” as it came close to an Iranian military base, and “under these circumstances, because of human error,” the plane “came under fire,” the New York Times writes.

  • Iran's General Staff of Armed Forces said Flight 752 was shot down "unintentionally" after departing from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, per a statement cited by the Washington Post.
  • In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the crash was the result of "U.S. adventuring," adding, "Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

Context: Iran repeatedly denied accusations that it was responsible for the crash. The head of Iran's national aviation department said at a press conference on Friday, "What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane."

  • U.S. and allied intelligence assessments indicated that Iranian missiles downed the aircraft amid increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
  • The New York Times obtained a video on Thursday that appears to show an Iranian missile hitting a Ukrainian airliner near Tehran's airport — where the flight "stopped transmitting its signal."
  • Wednesday's crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at two bases in Iraq that housed American forces in retaliation for the U.S. killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

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

Go deeper

What we know: Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashes in Tehran

Search and rescue teams at the site of the plane crash near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran, Jan. 8. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Boeing 737-800 Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed in Tehran shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on Jan. 8, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew members.

The latest: The Iranian government has agreed to send the black boxes from the downed jetliner to Ukraine, suggesting it cannot be read in Iran and providing little further detail, according to an unnamed Iranian official per AP. American, French and Canadian experts will help analyze the data in Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 18, 2020

Iran escalation ends in tragedy and outrage

Riot police and demonstrators on Saturday near Tehran's Amir Kabir University. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Twelve days in which war between the U.S. and Iran seemed to loom ever closer began and ended with apparent Iranian mistakes.

The big picture: Iran is under growing pressure at home and abroad, while President Trump appears emboldened. But Trump is also facing criticism in Washington for failing to substantiate claims of an "imminent" threat, and overseas for his role in driving the escalation.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020

Iran's 3 catastrophic mistakes

This GIF of three video images, of Iran's shootdown of a Ukrainian plane, shows a flash at the moment of explosion (darkest image), the plane engulfed, then the crash. Images: AP

The Iranian regime has miscalculated in three disastrous ways, leaving the Supreme Leader in a weaker position than 11 days ago.

Our thought bubble: Trump is taking a lot of flak globally and from Democrats. But at this moment, the Iranian regime is doing most of the suffering.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 11, 2020