Iran on Saturday took responsibility for the downing of an Ukraine International Airlines flight, saying its military had shot down the plane by accident.
Earlier this week, Iran had rejected Western intelligence reports suggesting an Iranian missile shot down the plane, which had carried mostly Iranians, Canadians and Ukrainians.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani tweeted: “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake.”
While apologizing for the disaster, which killed 176 people, Tehran also blamed the incident on the United States ratcheting up tensions in the region.
“Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster,” the country’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a statement on Twitter.
Rouhani also attributed the accident to “the atmosphere of threats and intimidation by the aggressive American regime” in a statement.
“In order to defend ourselves against possible attacks by the American Army, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran were on full alert, which unfortunately led to this terrible catastrophe taking the lives of dozens of innocent people,” he added.
The leaders of Ukraine and Canada called for a thorough investigation and the prosecution of the people responsible for the crash.
“We expect Iran… to bring the guilty to the courts,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded “transparency, and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims.”