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Iran Announces Arrests Over Shooting Down Plane Amid Escalating Protests

By  James Barrett
An Iranian woman holds a placard reading in Farsi "Your mistake was unintentional, your lie was intentional" during a demonstration outside Tehran's Amir Kabir University on January 11, 2020. - Demonstrations broke out for a second night in a row after Iran admitted to having shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet by mistake on January 8, killing all 176 people on board. (Photo by STR / AFP)
STR/AFP via Getty Images

After initially denying responsibility for the tragic crash of a Ukrainian passenger jet last Wednesday that killed all 176 people on board — covering up evidence and accusing the U.S. of conducting a “psychological operation” on Iranian citizens — Iran finally admitted three days later that it did indeed shoot down the plane, saying the plane was accidentally targeted when it turned toward an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military base.

Amid escalating protests, to which the oppressive Iranian regime has responded with violence, Iran’s judiciary announced Tuesday that it has made multiple arrests related to the downing of the Boeing 737.

“Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said ‘extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested,'” The Associated Press reports. “His statement on the judiciary’s website did not say how many individuals had been detained or name them.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the “painful and unforgivable” incident in a speech on state-controlled television Tuesday and called for a special investigation. “The judiciary should form a special court with a ranking judge and dozens of experts,” said Rouhani, as reported by AP. “This is not an ordinary case. The entire the world will be watching this court.”

“The responsibility falls on more than just one person,” he said, promising punishment for all responsible for the deaths of the 176 passengers aboard the flight.

The president of the terror-sponsoring regime also made a point of trying to blame the U.S. for the tragedy, saying, “It was the U.S. that made for an agitated environment. It was the U.S. that created an unusual situation. It was the U.S. that threatened and took our beloved (General Qassem Soleimani).”

Iran shot down the plane shortly after it launched missiles at two Iraqi bases at which U.S. personnel were stationed. The attack, which resulted in no U.S. or Iraqi casualties, was a retaliation for the Trump-ordered airstrike that took out Soleimani, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers and helped orchestrate Iran-backed terror campaigns for decades.

Iran initially denied culpability for the downing of the plane, accusing the U.S. of spreading a “big lie” about Iran’s role in the tragedy.

“It is unfortunate that the psychological operation of the U.S. government and those supporting it are adding insult to the injury of the bereaved families and victimizing them for certain goals by propagating such fallacies,” Iranian Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said last week. “No one will assume responsibility for such a big lie once it is known that the claim had been fraudulent.”

Iran also began removing evidence from the crash. Eventually, they could deny the truth no longer and admitted three days later to having shot down the plane accidentally.

The incident has sparked massive backlash in at least a dozen cities in Iran, with Iranian protesters shouting “Death to the Islamic Republic” and “Death to the dictator.” Iran’s theocratic regime responded by violently suppressing the protests, firing “tear gas, rubber bullets and eventually live ammunition to disperse demonstrators.”

(Top image: An Iranian woman holds a placard reading in Farsi “Your mistake was unintentional, your lie was intentional” during a demonstration outside Tehran’s Amir Kabir University on January 11, 2020. -Getty Images)

Related: Iran Opens Fire On Demonstrators. Protesters Chant: ‘Our Enemy Is Right Here; They Lie To Us That It’s America’

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