TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi highlighted reasons why a recent downing of a Ukrainian plane was announced after 3 days, saying the investigation that led to the announcement was conducted in the least possible time.
“The incident (downing of the airliner) happened around 6:15 am (local time) January 8,” Brigadier General Abdollahi told the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting on Tuesday night.
“The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force was on a mission in the west of the country and after an hour, he was informed (about it) and reported this to his superior,” he added.
“(Anyone at) every level who reports (something) should make sure about (the accuracy of) the report,” he said, adding, “Naturally, the initial examination takes time.”
The scope of mission of the involved individuals was extensive and it was necessary to speak to all of them so the process lasted about 38 hours, he noted.
Experts believe that the process was conducted as quickly as possible, the security official went on to say.
In a statement on Saturday, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said the incident took place following Iranian missile strikes on a military base of the criminal US regime in Iraq and amid a possible threat of hostile military actions.
“Following the threats from the president and the military commanders of the criminal US that a large number of targets on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soil would be hit in case of a retaliatory operation, and considering an unprecedented increase in the aerial movements over the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces were on the highest level of readiness in order to respond to possible threats,” the statement read.
It also said that military flights by the terrorist American forces had increased around Iran after the missile attack and there were reports that hostile aircraft posing threats to Iranian strategic centers had been tracked on radar screens, making the Iranian Air Defense more sensitive.
The statement added that the Ukrainian passenger plane had been approaching a sensitive military site of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in a latitude and with a form similar to those of a hostile object, and that a “human error” caused the jetliner to be hit unintentionally, leading to the martyrdom of the passengers.
It also offered an apology for the human error and expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims, giving an assurance that “fundamental reforms” in the operational processes of the Armed Forces would prevent a recurrence of such errors.
The victims of last Wednesday’s crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.
All 179 people on board the Boeing 737, including nine crew, were killed when the jetliner crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport on Wednesday morning.
The plane operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) was bound for Kiev.