A FAST-MOVING object is seen rising at an angle into the sky before a bright flash appears, which dims and then continues moving forward. Several seconds later, an explosion is heard and the sky lights up.
A video footage of the UIA 737 which was received and verified by the New York Times showed the above, describing the moment the Ukranian civilian commercial airliner was downed in Tehran.
The incident caused the deaths of 176 innocent people – passengers and crew of UIA Flight PS752 which had taken off from Tehran airport. On board the plane were Iranian-Canadian dual nationals, Ukrainians, Afghans, Britons, and Swedes.
Iran admitted committing an “unforgiveable mistake” with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani twitting, “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”
Rouhani said his country’s Armed Forces internal investigators have concluded that “regrettably, missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane and death of 176 innocent people.” IRNA news agency, meanwhile, had published a statement from the military saying the Boeing 737 was mistaken for a “hostile plane” at a time when enemy threats were at the highest level.
Mistakes such as this one are bound to happen because political tensions soared in the region following the US military’s assassination of General Qussam Soleimani and 8 other military officials of Iran and Iraq at the Baghdad airport. Another tragic occurrence a few days ago, during the burial of Soleimani, was a human stampede that killed at least 30 Iranians.
While Washington said the killing of Soleimani was carried out to prevent imminent, large-scale attacks on US embassies around the world – and thus prevent the loss of American lives – what it did was to beget more killings and unnecessary loss of lives.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was correct in pointing out that “human error at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to the disaster.” With even Air Force personnel on both sides very edgy over the deteriorating situation and the threat of a full-blown war between Iran and the US, fatal mistakes are most likely to happen.
The US and the rest of the world cannot totally blame Iran. The worst civil aviation disaster in that country was when the US military shot down by mistake an Iran Air plane over the Gulf in July, 1988, killing all 290 people on board.