The New York Times reports that Iran has admitted to shooting down a Ukrainian 737 this week that killed 176 people, and claimed that the plane was accidentally shot down when it turned toward an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military base.
The plane was shot down on Tuesday after Iran fired numerous missiles targeting U.S. forces in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. military killing IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was responsible for murdering hundreds of U.S. soldiers.
BREAKING: #IRAN admits shooting down the Ukrainian Airplane says human error, accidental, the plane turned toward an IRGC military base.#IranPlaneCrash
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 11, 2020
Iran’s admission that it shot down the passenger plane comes after it lied for several days when it falsely claimed that it did not shoot the plane down and accused the United States of engaging in a “psychological operation” against Iran by “propagating such fallacies” that it falsely claimed was “a big lie.”
“It is unfortunate that the psychological operation of the US government and those supporting it are adding insult to the injury of the bereaved families and victimising them for certain goals by propagating such fallacies,” Iranian Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said. “No one will assume responsibility for such a big lie once it is known that the claim had been fraudulent.”
Video from inside Iran surfaced on Tuesday night that showed the plane going down in flames shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
#Breaking First footage of the Ukrainian airplane while on fire falling near #Tehran pic.twitter.com/kGxnBb7f1q
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) January 8, 2020
On Thursday, The New York Times reported new video that showed the moment that the plane was clearly struck by a surface to air missile, writing, “Visual and sonic clues in the footage also matched flight path information and satellite imagery of the area near where the plane crashed.”
BREAKING: New video appears to show missile hitting Flight 752 before it crashed near Tehran, killing 176 people pic.twitter.com/Jb3Cy3OgUT
— BNO News (@BNONews) January 9, 2020
After the plane was shot down, Iran said that it would not turn over the black box from the wreckage to Boeing, but would turn it over to one of their allies for examination.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, a notorious propagandist, wrote on Twitter: “A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: 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.”
A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:
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.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020
Zarif’s remarks closely align with talking points from the Democrat Party, which has sought to blame the Trump administration for the plane being shot down.
Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg responded to the incident by tweeting, “Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all 176 souls lost aboard this flight.”
Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier (CA) also tried to pin the plane being shot down on the Trump administration, telling CNN, “This is yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States.”
.@RepSpeier blames Trump for Iran shooting down a passenger jet: “This is yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States." pic.twitter.com/DBeGdIozxW
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 9, 2020
Failed Democrat congressional candidate Saira Rao falsely claimed: “Every single one of the 176 passengers on the Ukrainian plane that went down was murdered by Donald Trump. We have to start calling a thing a thing and stop pretending that this man and America are not the biggest terrorists in the world.”
Every single one of the 176 passengers on the Ukrainian plane that went down was murdered by Donald Trump.
We have to start calling a thing a thing and stop pretending that this man and America are not the biggest terrorists in the world.
— saira rao (@sairasameerarao) January 9, 2020
This report has been updated to include additional information.