Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 11, 2020

Iranian Armed Forces Say They Inadvertently Shot Down The Ukrainian Plane - Updated

Updated below

The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff just admitted (in Farsi, English translation) that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran :

2- In early hours after the missile attack [on US’ Ain al-Assad base in Iraq], the military flights of the US’ terrorist forces had increased around the country. The Iranian defence units received news of witnessing flying targets moving towards Iran’s strategic centres, and then several targets were observed in some [Iranian] radars, which incited further sensitivity at the Air Defence units.

3- Under such sensitive and critical circumstances, the Ukrainian airline’s Flight PS752 took off from Imam Khomeini Airport, and when turning around, it approached a sensitive military site of the IRGC, taking the shape and altitude of a hostile target. In such conditions, due to human error and in an unintentional move, the airplane was hit [by the Air Defence], which caused the martyrdom of a number of our compatriots and the deaths of several foreign nationals.

4- The General Staff of the Armed Forces offers condolences and expresses sympathy with the bereaved families of the Iranian and foreign victims, and apologizes for the human error. It also gives full assurances that it will make major revision in the operational procedures of its armed forces in order to make impossible the recurrence of such errors. It will also immediately hand over the culprits to the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces for prosecution.

The Pentagon had claimed that Iran shot down the airliner but the evidence it presented was flimsy and not sufficient as the U.S. tends to spread disinformation about Iran.

It is welcome that the Iranian forces come clean about the incident.

That is not a given in such cases.

After the USS Vincennes in 1988 had shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people, including many children, the U.S. government denied any culpability. George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time, commented: "I will never apologize for the United States – I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Despite its "error" the crew was given medals and the captain was even awarded a Legion of Merit "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer ...".

We can be assured by the statement of Iran's president that the responsible Iranian officer will receive no such a reward:

Hassan Rouhani @HassanRouhani - 4:43 UTC · 11 Jan 2020
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. #PS752

The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.

My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.

Let us also not forget that the root cause of the accident was an assassination campaign which the U.S. launched against foreign military commanders of a country with which it is not at war:

On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen

The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The U.S. executed a long planned campaign against several Iranian officers in third countries without any reasonable justification:

“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qasem Soleimani,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Friday. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper have likewise supported the case for an imminent plot.

“Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No,” Milley told reporters this week. “But he was planning, coordinating and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region, and it was imminent.”

Can there be any "imminent threat" when one does not know the "who, what, when, where" of the threat? Why would killing a high officer prevent the execution of such a threat? The excuse is obviously bullshit.

It was the U.S. assassination of the Iraqi and Iranian national heroes Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and Major General Qassem Suleimani that led to the high alarm and nervousness which, in the end, killed 176 passengers and crew on board of flight PS 752.

Iran's foreign minister is right to point that out:

Javad Zarif @JZarif - 4:05 UTC · 11 Jan 2020
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.

The death of the people on flight PS 752 is the tragic outcome of unreasonable U.S. aggression.

Update 11:00 UTC

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp IRGC's Aerospace Commander Amir-Ali Hajizadeh just gave press conference. It was an IRGC air defense unit that shot the plane down.

Iran Front Page journalist Reza Khaasteh translated on Twitter:

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I wish I was dead and such an incident hadn't happened. We in IRGC accept all the responsibility, and are ready to implement any decision made by the Establishment.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I was in the country's west following attacks on US base in Iraq when I heard the news. We sacrificed our lives for our people for a lifetime, and now we're trading our reputation with God (disgracing ourselves) and appear in front of the camera to explain.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says we had requested the establishment of a no-fly zone given the war situation. But it was not approved for certain considerations.

Revision: IRGC Aerospace Cmdr says Air Defence operator sent a message to his commanders; but after he didn't receive any response for 10 seconds, he decided to shoot it down.

Video of IRGC Aerospace Cmdr. showing the place on map where the Ukrainian plane was shot down by the air defence.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr: I informed Iranian officials on Wednesday morning, and said we speculate our own passenger plane has been shot down. But the General Staff of Armed Forces quarantined all those who knew about it, and decided to declare it later.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: The officials, including Aviation authorities, who kept denying the missile hit, are not guilty. They made those remarks based on what they knew. We are to blame for everything.

IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: We were at that time ready for an all-out war with US. We had reports of cruise missiles fired at Iran. It was an individual's error that caused this tragedy.

What I find inexplicable is that the crew of Tor M-1 air defense system did not really consider that the Tehran airport was operating and that civil traffic was likely. More than ten planes had already taken off before the Ukrainian flight took to the air. The accident happened shortly after 6:00 am local time. Pure speculation: I suspect that a crew change had happened at 6:00 am and that the overnight crew did not really brief the one taking over.

Another leak (ukr) from the Ukrainian side of the investigation gives some hints on how the plane came down (machine translation):

"We took up the restoration of fragments of the aircraft. It was necessary to determine how these pieces of metal dumped into a huge pile should be interconnected.

The intrigue remained until late. The fact is that there were no damages on most parts of the aircraft. There was no explosion and no fire in the engines or on the wings. It is possible that the plane could fall almost intact. Unlike the remains of the Boeing MN-17, there were no immediately visible signs of defeat by combat elements on the fuselage and wings. A lot of damage to the case is the result of a fall. But after laying out all the fragments of the aircraft, it became obvious that the bottom of the cockpit was missing.

Among the wreckage, fragments of the upper part of the cabin were identified. And then the find finally took place - at about 22 hours. On a fragment of the cockpit, we found holes in the damaging elements of the warhead of the rocket, which pierced the skin. We found! For the first time, direct evidence appeared in this case, which made it possible to prove what caused the death of the aircraft. For us it was a turning point.

So what we now understand:

Russian anti-aircraft missile "Tor" hit the liner in the lower part of the front of the fuselage, directly under the cockpit.

A direct hit and the cabin flared up inside. Instantly turned off the transponder of the aircraft, which gives signals about the flight. Instantly lost contact.

While there is no data, one or two missiles have caused such damage. It is possible that the second missile also hit the fuselage from below close to the first. But all this remains to be clarified.

We continue to lay out fragments of the aircraft until the complete collection of all surviving parts.

We expect that today we will gain access to all objective control data.

In cooperation with Iranian colleagues, we get the impression that those who contact us sincerely want to help themselves and figure it out, in general, there are no problems. Let's hope that such a mood and working contacts remain with us now."

Posted by b on January 11, 2020 at 4:21 UTC | Permalink

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At the very least, it does show us that anxieties were running very high that evening/early morning with no "in-the-know" arrangement for how the deescalation was going to pan out.

They should have grounded all commercial flights. Really, Really dumb on Iran's part. And I see the saker has been mum on the whole affair.

It definitely shoots some holes in his propping up of the Iranian military/government to show how ready and focused they are for an American invasion.

Bodes poorly.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Jan 11 2020 4:29 utc | 1

Kudos to Iran for immediately taking responsibility.
I also keep in mind that if the US had not killed 29 Iraqi PMU's and their deputy commander as well as the most beloved General Qassem Soleimani, none of this would have ever happened..

Posted by: Annie | Jan 11 2020 4:29 utc | 2

It is a very tragic event
No US soldiers was killed and 63 Iranian civilians died.
Will Trump be able to accept that by creating more tensions with Iran he is allowing tragic events like this one to happen
The US presence in the region has only generated violence and hatred.It is high time they leave

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 11 2020 4:35 utc | 3

Sadly due to their own incompetence, Iran lost there moral high ground!
A great disappointment to those of us who supported Iran through thick and thin.

/Slow clap

Posted by: Mark | Jan 11 2020 4:53 utc | 4

I'm curious why it took them this long to admit it. Surely they knew from radar and missile crews/inventory within hours. Something doesn't add up.

Posted by: Sorghum | Jan 11 2020 4:53 utc | 5

I think also on this website it would have been wise to take a step back and not be rash in coming up with wild speculations about what could have happened (anything but Iran's fault of course). Alas, it is not the strength of this place. Other blog sites were much more careful and nuanced while so few details were known publicly.

The outcome is tragic and sad, not only is it ironic that Iran now shot down an airliner same as what the US did over the Gulf in the 80s it also raises the question how the anti-aircraft system in Teheran would confuse a slowly ascending object near the international airport for either a US/Israeli fighter jet or a missile both of which would have had to penetrate Iranian airspace hundreds of kilometres away. This will also emotionally stir up people in the country and distract them from focusing on their common enemy. Most people on board were Iranians or ethnically Iranian. I hope the government takes the necessary steps and in future events such as these shuts down civilian airspace completely. Sad.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jan 11 2020 4:58 utc | 6

So much for engine malfunction. fives eyes said it was a missile so I thought it would have been their proxies like Ukraine, but not the case this time. Downing the drone firing only one missile, precision strikes on the US base... shit happens especially when the US and five eyes are involved and creating the fog of war. Hope it doesn't make the Iranians hesitate when they next need to fire one.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 5:01 utc | 7


Yes, why didn't Iran ground all commercial flights while there was hostilities and the potential for reprisal missile and air attacks? Their air defenses can't be that good if they can't distinguish between a commercial jet and a military jet.

Indeed does not bode well in the event of war with the US which would destroy much of Iran.

Posted by: Sam | Jan 11 2020 5:05 utc | 8

Perfectly worded article! Thank you, MOA:)

Posted by: SharonM | Jan 11 2020 5:10 utc | 9

For the trolls currently infesting this site - Iraq, a relatively small country when it comes to superpowers has been successfully fending off the US for fourty years. Fourty years when they could be attacked by the US at any time. They have developed their own air defences plus high tech missiles that accurately hit a US base within an Iraqi base. Trump is intent on destroying Iran. The US regime wouldn't hesitate to use a civilian plane to try and penetrate Iran's defences. US is as culpable of this downing as was the crew of the US ship that far from home and on Iran's doorstep downed the Iranian passenger jet.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 5:14 utc | 10

@4 Mark

I'm pretty sure Iran will never lose the moral high ground against the U.S. and Israel;)

Posted by: SharonM | Jan 11 2020 5:15 utc | 11

Well. Looks like Iran will have to lay low for awhile or at least until the US starts the war for real. Not necessarily a bad thing?
At least the victims families get some closure. Iran should propose that some of their frozen assets be released to pay restitution.
The downing of the plane probably helped avoid an American retaliation for the missile strikes.

Posted by: pleasebeleafme | Jan 11 2020 5:15 utc | 12

Iran cleared up the crash site where the passenger jet came down and before admitting its responsibility on Friday, said it wanted to handle the black box data itself.

The debris of the Boeing 737 has been removed from the crash site near Tehran before Ukrainian investigators have even arrived, sparking fears of a cover-up.

It was a dead giveaway yesterday when Iran started clearing the debris from the crash site before any independent investigators arrived. When you add that to video that showed the Ukranian airliner exploding in the air, it would have indicated a decent probability that Iran was hiding something. But....most everyone in the earlier threads on the downing of the jet were finding all kinds of excuses why it couldn't have been an Iranian air defense missile.

Posted by: Sam | Jan 11 2020 5:17 utc | 13

I suspected that it might have an accidental shoot down. The shameless Empire (which started all this by killing Soleimani and threatening Iran) and its gutless lackeys will no doubt milk all the propaganda value they can out of this tragedy.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 11 2020 5:23 utc | 14

In war, no one has the moral high ground. Just because the US does evil doesn’t make Iran, who executes gays, good. Just because Soleimani fought ISIS that doesn’t make him good or not a terrorist fomenting Islamic Revolution wherever he can.

Saying Soleimani was a hero for fighting ISIS is just like saying Hitler was a hero for fighting Stalin.

The only world player that has been unselfishly good in recent memory is Cuba by sending its doctors throughout and Venezuela under Chavez sending oil to poor people including those in the US.

Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Jan 11 2020 5:25 utc | 15

It is a relief that the world suddenly agrees on facts :-))

It still does not make sense for all the reasons the Iranians quoted before.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 5:29 utc | 16

6h6 hours ago
There's a ground and aerial element at Baghdad International, it's not just the helicopters.

5h5 hours ago
The airport was closed for a total of 30 minutes. It's open now.
I guess the reports about NATO Secretary-General arriving were true, but nothing to do with "credible threats" knowing the stance of the Resistance factions. Pretty sure it's Standard Operating Procedure anyways.

Looks like the shit's about to hit the fan. Iran better keep those air defences manned. Iraqi's are just a bit of local fauna for the US. Like the Euro twits and the nuke deal, Trump judged the Iraqi's well.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 5:29 utc | 17

Yes this is a horrible tragedy and I wish Iran had grounded all flights until they were certain all was clear. But in real life accidents and mistakes happen, sometimes very tragic and costly.

But all this talk of Iranian 'incompetence' and 'loss of moral high ground' is utter nonesense.

Iran handled this tragic mistake about as well as anyone could. Indeed far better than many others have. Especially when you consider that they knew that their enemies would use everything in an inform8war against them. Given the circumstances, Iran handled the aftermath as well as possible. 'Why did it take Iran so long to admit it?' Well, 'so long' is 3 days. And even before that, they invited experts from Boeing and even the NTSB to help with the investinvestigation.

And now those who wished to use this incident against Iran are stuck. What can they say? The US making a fuss about it will only offer an opportunity to remind everyone of IA655. Iran has already admitted it and apologized. Not much more to use.

And none of this changes the fact that Iran is the only country to openly retaliate against the US military and have the US back down.

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 11 2020 5:30 utc | 18

Tragedy for the victims and for Iran, and any decent person will pray for them. I can only imagine the pressure on the poor Iranian officer who pressed the button. 24 hours earlier being threatened with total war and the destruction of 53 cultural sites. Any person with half a brain knows where the ultimate blame lies. Sadly, this will not be the last such event until the US pisses off and minds its own business. The world has had enough of the self proclaimed exceptionalist.

Posted by: cdvision | Jan 11 2020 5:30 utc | 19

The following link has interesting info about some of the people killed in the Ukrainian flight PS 752. Originally, I wasn't going to mention this article because in it it said "...A crash which US authorities are now saying was caused by Iran’s own missile defence systems. An explanation which Iran seems to be accepting for the moment. ..." but as that seems to be the case. This tragic shootdown will make Russia cautious in supplying Iran with missiles.

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 11 2020 5:37 utc | 20

If the plane had been taken down by a bomb put onboard at Tehran airport, or by a MANPAD, wouldn't Iran prefer to "fess" up than admit a security breach?

Just putting the idea out there.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Jan 11 2020 5:40 utc | 21

My tinfoil thought is: what if taking the blame for this is spin on what really happened? The US said it was a missile awfully fast. There is an information war going on, and it isn't just the west playing.
IDK, but my gut says there is more to this that we aren't being told.

Trolls are on this like white on rice. Sure seems Hasbara, MEK, and DoD have nothing better to do.

Posted by: Sorghum | Jan 11 2020 5:43 utc | 22

It only took 2 Days! US never publicly accepted responsibility for IR655. Iran promise to punish not honor or reward the guilty. MH17 any takers yet?

Posted by: Fundas | Jan 11 2020 5:45 utc | 23

After the shooting down of the US drone in 2019, the Iranian armed forces did specify that command for AD units was decentralized and thus did not come from the top. This incident would seem to support that.

There should have been no commercial traffic in the air. It is simple as that, but the root cause of this incident lies with the events which lead up to it. We can go as far back in history, but it's clear that this was caused by none other than DJT.

Posted by: ebolax | Jan 11 2020 5:48 utc | 24

@Sam 13

I’m not going to make myself very popular by saying this, but anyone who isn’t completely deluded knows, even if they never admit it publicly, that these forums are echo chambers that encourage tribal groupthink. That doesn’t mean everything that’s posted is wrong, but independent thinking and truth seeking come second to supporting the team. Remember the grief ‘paul’ got for daring to criticize V. Putin? That kind of thing happens all the time in internet forums and on Twitter.

It is a bit disconcerting that so many people are seemingly happy to wilfully delude themselves and do away with rational thinking. Maybe it was always like that and it only became noticeable with the advent of the internet.

But the west is in trouble because it has few common values that unite the population. So when times are tough people tend to splinter rather than pull together. Multiculturalism is just a neoliberal code word for a low-wage economy paired with vapid consumerism. In North America the average person knows next to nothing about other cultures. Urban liberals think eating at an “ethnic” restaurant makes them sophisticated multikultis. You can’t run a society on hyper-individualism.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 11 2020 5:53 utc | 25

While b was looking for the likelihood that the crash was due to some failure, has always stated that there is the possibility to have been shot by an Iranian missile.

The announcement from Iranian part is impeccable from a PR perspective.

Posted by: Kouros | Jan 11 2020 5:54 utc | 26

Well i for one eat my hat. Fuck me, what a fuck up

Posted by: Jezabeel | Jan 11 2020 5:59 utc | 27

My Ship was headed to the Gulf on the Monday after the Friday Vincennes Incident.

I was in my Homeport in Japan that Evening. Spent Supper and Watched Music Videos at the Officers' Club. As I got off my Bike at the Pier - an Associate told me that We shot down an Iranian F-14.

We already had Skirmishes the Previous Summer with the USS Stark, which Kicked Off the Naval Convoys of Operation Earnest Will.

We know that the IRNians were harassing the Vincennes with their Gunboats. The Vincennes were told to leave the Area several times afterwards; but Disobeyed - Seeking to Destroy. The Air Warfare Team were hell bent on the Hunt, they Deluded Themselves to believe that a Hostile Aircraft was approaching. With no Comms/Responses and no one checking Commercial Flight Paths, they Shot Down the Airliner.

I confirmed this with the Officer leading the Anti Surface Team on the Vincennes that Day - when I met him during an MBA Prospective Tour at Harvard years later.

Human Error - Rushed Judgement. Now we need to see if the Aircraft did Deviate from the Path / Warnings+Comms were ongoing - and to see if it wasn't a Cover for Intel Photo Ops over the Base.

Posted by: IronForge | Jan 11 2020 6:01 utc | 28

The United States KNEW about the tragic event from the moment it happened. Military satellites in the sky can make sharper photo’s than reporters on the ground of the crash site. The intelligence was shared with 5 Eyes plus ... incl. at least Israel and The Netherlands (PM Mark Rutte if MH-17 fame).

Why did the US keep info under wraps in the intelligence briefing to members U.S. Congress ... afterwards they specifically said there was. NO intelligence Ukraine airliner was shot down ... lots to learn for all. Not following the Putin playbook. Or other cover-ups like NATO downing an Italian passenger jet near Ithaca. Ukraine themselves have accidentally shot down a Siberian airliner by exercises above the Black Sea.

Posted by: Oui | Jan 11 2020 6:03 utc | 29

In real terms this revelation changes nothing: there is no doubt, and nobody disputes it, that whether the aircraft was brought down by a bomb placed by Mossad or MEK or, as now seems to be the case, accidentally brought down by hair trigger alert air defences, the basis of the crisis is the aggression of the US government and the eagerness of its corrupt leadership to appease Israeli demands.
Most of which are simply attempts to gain marginal electoral advantage-the same might be said, too, of the rationale behind the decisions of the US government.

In a word, the fault here lies in the irresponsible and dangerous bullying by Washington and its jackal like followers. And while decent people will lament every drop of blood shed by the victims and every tear of their loved ones, there should be no patience at all for the false professions of concern and pretended sympathy from those who, for forty years, have been working hard to starve Iran's population-in the hope of driving them into revolt- and mowing down its people (as in the million dead in the War in which Iraq, sponsored by the US, attacked Iran).

The facts are very clear: it is Washington's policy to starve, isolate, intimidate and misrepresent Iran and its people. Events such as these are the inevitable consequences of such evil actions.

Those who side with Iran to the extent of crediting its motives and pronouncements above those of the imperialist criminals may console themselves that Iran's openness and honesty in this matter are a vindication not only of its government and people but of the sympathy, for them, of the great majority of the global population. And the entirety of decent, honest people everywhere.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 11 2020 6:04 utc | 30

I don't blame Iran. Israel and US have been doing turkey shots at AA sites all over the region for decades.

That night the AA guys must have been so nervous, half of Tom Clancys books and a dozen major Hollywood movies feature fake civilian crafts starting The Attack.

I feel sorry for Rheza or Mohsen or whoever they where who manned that battery. I hope they were not executed on the spot.

Posted by: cosmicalstorm | Jan 11 2020 6:08 utc | 31

An appropriate analogy: Someone attacks you. You defend yourself by taking a swing at your attacker. Unfortunately some bystander just happens to walk between the two of you and gets hit by your punch in self defense. In that case, I think the attacker deserves most of the responsibility for the bystander getting hit by your punch.

Posted by: Doryphore | Jan 11 2020 6:12 utc | 32

IronForge "and to see if it wasn't a Cover for Intel Photo Ops over the Base."

As the Ukraine airline started flight to Iran shortly after the US takeover of Ukraine, that is a distinct possibility.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 6:13 utc | 33

From Daniel;

It is a bit disconcerting that so many people are seemingly happy to wilfully delude themselves and do away with rational thinking.

Exactly. The only way to validate your world view is to make predictions and then see if they come true.

Those who predicted that that the Trump assassination of Soleimani would lead to WWIII were clearly wrong and need to re-evaluate their world view.

Those who thought that the Ukraine 737 wasn’t shot down by Iran need to re-evaluate their world view as well.

It’s OK to be wrong. It’s not OK, or at least not scientific to continue to rationalize your world view when it had been proven incorrect.

Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Jan 11 2020 6:16 utc | 34

Two Spangdahlem airmen found dead in dormitory room in Germany

Trump has denied casualties during the Iranian attack can we trust him? are the two soldiers Tuesday casualties?

Posted by: Carl | Jan 11 2020 6:22 utc | 35

Now we need to see if the Aircraft did Deviate from the Path / Warnings+Comms were ongoing - and to see if it wasn't a Cover for Intel Photo Ops over the Base.
Posted by: IronForge | Jan 11 2020 6:01 utc | 28

Thanks for sharing that information IronForge. Can you please clarify that last part - referring to the Iran Air incident or the UUkraine Air incident? What base? Cover for whose intel photo ops?

Posted by: BM | Jan 11 2020 6:25 utc | 36

Will Iran and USA pay compensation to relatives of the Iraqis, Iranians and other victims of this conflict?

Posted by: Keith McClary | Jan 11 2020 6:27 utc | 37

I am probably being overly conspiratorial, but this still seems rather odd to me. By the time a potential enemy plane reaches Tehran, it should have been picked up by a number of more powerful radar systems than that possessed by the Tor, which is essentially a point defense system with limited short-range radar.

Strikes me as serious incompetence which doesn't bode well for Iranian Air Defense as a whole.

I suppose a B2 could have stealthed its way that far into the country without detection, and it is large enough to be mistaken for a 737 once detected, but it wouldn't be flying that low.

In any event, if a counter strike on Tehran was considered a possibility, why weren't commercial jetliners grounded?

Posted by: Jason | Jan 11 2020 6:28 utc | 38

@34 CognitiveDissonance
It is way to early to know if the assassination of Soleimani leads to WWIII or not.

You are overreaching on your point, which would be valid if you made it less extreme. One need to reevaluate one's entire "world view" because they were wrong on who shot down the airliner, a reevaluation of ones knowledge of air-defense systems and Iranian military capabilities would suffice.

Posted by: Jason | Jan 11 2020 6:35 utc | 39

Pretty hard to believe an accident this stupid. Sorry.

Could an Iranian have been turned by foreign agents to shoot down a passenger airliner, and then claim it was an accident?

Or could Iran have been enticed to make a false admission to protect Boeings reputation and/or the Ukraine airlines reputation. Perhaps a carrot of lesser severity in the new sanctions?

There is no way to know really. I suppose its simplest to just take Irans admission as truth. If US fighters were flying over Irans airspace I suppose thats an adequate defense.

Still, its hard to see it. I mean if that was the case and enemy aircraft were intruding over Irans airspace local civilian planes wouldn't have been cleared to take off by ATC because there is no way to guarantee the flight path is clear. They just wouldn't. And if they did Iran has just basically admitted how incompetent they are. I mean they knew what was coming since they launched the missiles into Iraq. They had to have a plan on if there was a retaliatory response They had to be tracking any incoming flights very carefully as potential targets. A flight taking off from Tehran cant possibly be confused as an attacker unless their air defense system and training of operators is FUBAR

I’m going back and watch Fake Wrestling. Its more believable

Posted by: Pft | Jan 11 2020 6:41 utc | 40

So we have Trump announce more sanctions and say he just wants Iran to behave like a "normal nation" and no 48 hours later we get this, after 5 Eyes intel change their narrative and spread the missile story?

This is unbelievable, hardly acceptable and not the last word. Back-channel pressure on Tehran ought to be extreme.

Posted by: JayBee | Jan 11 2020 6:47 utc | 41

Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Jan 11 2020 6:16 utc | 34

"Those who predicted that that the Trump assassination of Soleimani would lead to WWIII were clearly wrong and need to re-evaluate their world view."

You mean the way 8 days following the assassination of the Archduke anyone who had thought that would lead to a general European war had been proven wrong? (And at the time almost no one thought it would lead to general war.)

But seriously, I'm in awe at your ability to see the future with such clarity. (Oh BTW can you refer me to the comments where you forecast what has happened so far?) What other factual knowledge do you have to share with us about the rest of 2020, for starters? Like a detailed account of what's going to happen with the US election? Brexit?

Posted by: Russ | Jan 11 2020 7:08 utc | 42

If the Iranian authorities are correct about a mistake then the responsibility is 100% on the aggressor, with one caveat.

The only thing that has bothered me at all about the plane crash from the start is why the government hadn't closed the airport, especially if they really did tell the enemy when they were going to attack (i.e. they weren't going for surprise). That seems like simple stupidity, the kind of screw-up more usually associated with the US or Boeing themselves.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 11 2020 7:10 utc | 43

This is utter incompetence on behalf of Iranian AD.
There is hardly any other explanation, the flight must have been monitored from the moment the aircraft was airborne, course , speed, altitude gain, so forth. The s300 system is certainly capable of relaying those data, and s300 are systems that guard Theran.
I am quite ok with they operate a decentralized system, but doing that require a higher level of "craftmanship" in order to avoid mishaps.
Remember both US and Russian missile sub commanders has got this authority, to act independently.
Poor Iranian silly sod that did this will not have any happy future....

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 11 2020 7:18 utc | 44

@IronForge #28:

Now we need to see if the Aircraft did Deviate from the Path…

There was nothing unusual about PS752’s flight path. See a chart of ten departures from the Tehran airport that night. Why weren’t these other planes shot down? Perhaps PS752’s one-hour delay was not properly communicated to air defense authorities?

In any case, this is a very serious blunder. Clearly, there are major problems with overall organization, procedures and personnel training in IRGC’s air defense (there’s also Army air defense). An accidental shoot-down was the first explanation I came up with in my first comment on the incident. The reason I started to doubt it later was that I had trust in the basic competency of Iranian air defense. I assumed only the most experienced officers would be posted to an air defense base unit Tehran. They would work there for months or even years, watching dozens of planes arriving and departing all day, every day. Surely they would memorize all identifications codes, radar signatures, airspeeds, heights and directions by heart. Well, apparently not. Or, perhaps, an officer suffered a nervous break-down. In any case, IRGC’s air defence procedures must be improved: officers must be given enough time to rest, they should undertake regular psychological evaluations, and any decision to shoot must be confirmed by a regional air defense unit tracking a wider area.

My sincere condolences to the families and compatriots of the victims.

Posted by: S | Jan 11 2020 7:21 utc | 45

*an air defense base near Tehran

Posted by: S | Jan 11 2020 7:25 utc | 46

iran should of came clean alittle earlier. this is no apology for this, it doesn't show incompetence to me. it shows a failure in a single decision which costed numerous lives and a huge mistake. if you were in that position saving ur people and making a mistake is a big line many wouldn't have the guts for. when are people going to come out and say i pushed the button on numerous civilian drone strikes in syria. yea none.

it also shows they were ready to go all out, including firing missiles at all bases around ME. which tells me US would have stood no chance, it is definitely one of the biggest shots of the century by far.

Posted by: jason | Jan 11 2020 7:32 utc | 47

thanks b... "... the tragic outcome of unreasonable U.S. aggression."

i share bevins sentiments... meanwhile, ignore the jackass commenting on the thread..

Posted by: james | Jan 11 2020 7:39 utc | 48

One can only imagine the U.S. response if it had been a plane full of American citizens.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 11 2020 7:47 utc | 49

This thread has sure exposed the good time girls. Latte sippers who think war should run like a well oiled machine. Iran does not have US surrounded by military bases. It does not have military aircraft both attack and surveillance constantly on US borders. US has brought war to Iran by the open killing of Soleimani. That was an act of war rather than terrorism. After Iran hit the US base,they fully expected US retaliation. US and coalition aircraft were on its borders. US started a war and in war shit happens. But here the good time girls think Iran should be as perfect as jesus or whatever rainbow god they pray to.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 7:48 utc | 50

@katherine #42: The second part of your video is copypasted from a video (@0:23) of 2015 Tianjin explosions. You should be suspicious of the source that provided you with the fake video.

Posted by: S | Jan 11 2020 7:50 utc | 51

The situation in Iran at the time. And remember, after the US strike Trump threatened to strike Iran if they retsaliated, so Iran was fully expecting a US strike.

"The Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed after takeoff from Tehran was downed due to "human error" after it flew too close to a military site and triggered a missile launch amid a standoff with the US, the Iranian Army said.
The Army General Staff stressed that the tragic mistake was made amid the flare-up of tensions with Washington. The nation's air defenses were placed on alert and ready to "respond to possible threats of the highest level," after US President Donald Trump warned that the Pentagon would strike targets on Iranian soil if US citizens or assets were attacked by Iran...
...For several hours after the missile attacks, the army was detecting increased activity of US warplanes around the country and received alerts of possible airstrikes on "strategic sites" across Iran, the General Staff said."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 7:59 utc | 52

Question: Was the turn that the flight took which put it on the path towards the military site part of its designated flight track or did it deviate?

Posted by: liveload | Jan 11 2020 8:00 utc | 53

In my opinion, this is a strategic admission. After considering all the angles, someone decided they wouldn't be able to clear the suspicions surrounding the event, and that they'd avoid more heat by taking the blame than denying involvement.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 11 2020 8:07 utc | 54

Already a wikipedia entry on the flight. According to that it made a turn shortly before the last data transmission. I take it the aircraft was hit after its last data transmission.

"Flight 752 was scheduled to take off at 05:15 local time (UTC+3:30), but was delayed. It departed Stand 116 and took off from Runway 29R at 06:12:47 local time and was expected to land in Kiev at 08:00 local time (UTC+2:00).[16][2] The final ADS-B data received was at 06:14:45, less than three minutes after departure.[17]

Between 06:14:20 and 06:14:45 the plane turned right 24º (from the take-off heading of 289º to 313º), according to flight data."

ADS-B transmissions are automated.–_broadcast

My guess - a sudden turn within close vicinity and towards a protected site and the air defence crew reacted instantly. Perhaps a bad move on the part of the pilot, or as one comment suggested the controls were hacked or otherwise taken over. Boing, Honeywell - all part of the US MIC.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 8:17 utc | 55

Zarif's (and b's) implication of partial responsibility for the shootdown to the US is wrong. Iran did not suspend civilian flights while in hair trigger mode and Iran's air defence system shot down the plane. None of those two crucial factors in the making of this tragedy involved the USA.

Open questions are now:

Why did Iran not close its airspace to civilian flights?
Why did the Iranian radar systems register incoming threats?
Why did flight PS752 turn around?
Why did Iran initially deny a shootdown and instead reported technical problems with the plane?

I can see a scenario where the plane did initially incur motor problems and, after reporting to air traffic controllers, decided to turn back. Then Iranian military shot at the plane, disabling comms and tracking signals. Just speculating, but it would fill in the latter two questions.

Shooting down a civilian airliner over a suspected photo operation over sensitive areas makes no sense so I am unwilling to engage in theorizing about a premeditated setup of any technical problems that the plane experienced. The plane's overweight due to reported overfuelling and questions over maintenance practices at UAI should be investigated as possible contributing factors.

Leaves me to wonder what the nature and extent of the Iranian radar reports was. Where they real, caused by electronic warfare or related to yet more human error? At least we may preliminarily assume that the radar operators were not drunk, given Iran's strict laws on alcohol.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 11 2020 8:19 utc | 56

Must concur with sentiment expressed in 40, above. The degree of incompetence required of Iranian systems, operators and procedures given the basics of origin, duration, direction etc. of the flight is simply not credible. Iran runs a very serious shop and has been preparing for years how to respond to all manner of scenarios - an own-goal of this magnitude rather reeks of deliberation. Perhaps Iran was enticed by foe and ally alike - Putin, for one, would undoubtedly have strongly supported a rapid de-escalation with the prospect of some 'deal', or maybe Iran discovered it had a far graver concern, i.e., that someone else could take control of the systems required to make this 'accident' happen. Or maybe Iran discovered it had an enormous security lapse, as in a rogue unit doing someone else's bidding. After all, the US imperium is still multiples more powerful politically and sophisticated technically than Iran. Hell, one could even argue a case for Putin making his own deal with the US to stop the war before it really started.

Posted by: Artful Dodger | Jan 11 2020 8:24 utc | 57

Even if Iran now believes it was a missile it can still be wrong, these investigations take time to be thorough and the actual investigators have barely started working.

No matter what reason is found and documented in the accident investigation report in the future there are many things already mentioned and discussed which will have to be answered in order for any explanation to make sense. Remember those things.

There is still (including in this thread) also a lot of what seems like nothing but "narrative control" or pure propaganda such as the unverified bulldozer claims and any doctored or strangely edited videos (but of course not any genuine videos). Lies don't become "true" no matter what the cause was or who believes or says what, neither does any misunderstanding of probabilities or anything else.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 11 2020 8:26 utc | 58

My guess is they waited because they wanted the news of the attack on the American bases to not be muted by this admission, plus they probably wanted to spend a few days having their MOIS confirm how this happened to make sure it wasn't a result of some nefarious act or bad apple.

Bad things happen in war. This is one of them. In the future, all planes will be grounded during conflict, but unfortunately it took this event to make that happen.

On the bright side, Iran might be a bit more forgiving about the Iran Air downing, and perhaps maybe put that in the rear view mirror.

Posted by: ebolax | Jan 11 2020 8:28 utc | 59

There is more to come on this I think. Iran has been determined from the start to obtain the information on the black boxes. It has invited others into the investigation so it is not as though it wants to keep the data to itself. The plane turning and the direction it was turning as would be recorded on the flight recorders may be the data they are after. This could then be matched to radar images.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 8:32 utc | 60

jack garbage

US is ok because it knowingly kills civilians yet Iran shouldn't have weapons because it accidently killed civilians.... Perhaps you should not only look at US knowingly killing civilians but also its friendly fire incidents when it bombs its own troops.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 8:39 utc | 61

@ 56 skiffer... this is not really directed at you, but your comment triggered it.. what if we really don't know the cultural differences between us and others? is it possible for us to still really understand the motives of others? i think the ground swell of admiration for qassem s.. who the usa murdered a week ago is a sentiment that i can't imagine ever happening in the culture i live in.. why is that?? so, maybe some cultures cut to the truth a bit quicker then others? is it possible?? i think it is..

@ 51 peter.. ditto that..

Posted by: james | Jan 11 2020 8:42 utc | 62

Sad but I guess an expected outcome in the end of the day that. However how do we know it was iranian army that accidently shot it down,
not a manpad by someone or foreign forces that got in Iran and shot it down?

Still, Canada, Ukraine and even Russia condemn Iran.

"Russian State Duma Condemns Iran's Actions But Acknowledges that Tehran was Provoked - Lawmaker"

"Full Probe and Full Admission of Guilt is Expected From Iran Regarding Plane Crash - Ukrainian President"

"Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Calls for 'Closure and Accountability' in Wake of Iran's Plane Crash Statement"

Apparently the warmongering, call for punishmen against Iran will go on...

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 8:49 utc | 63

It seems to me that this is an accident and accidents are not usually just one thing that goes wrong but a series of events. In this case we have a country that has been under attack from another very belligerent super power for nearly 40 years, the leader of that belligerent empire is a very stable genius, that very stable genius has promised to destroy 52 important sites in Iran should Iran respond to the assassination of one their most respected generals.

Iran responds by launching two waves of ballistic missiles into US bases in Iraq.

Now put in simple aborted take-off of a passenger jet from Tehran, something goes really wrong with jet and the pilots make the decision to return immediately to the airport. Who knows if the pilots were able to notify the tower that they were returning? Even if they did, did that word get to the ground defense force?

Lastly, you have people manning air defense systems, their job is to defend an important military site, and here comes something very low and unexpected. They would have had seconds to identify and respond. They probably responded as they were trained to do....hesitation is not a quality that ensures long life in combat.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 11 2020 8:52 utc | 64

@Skiffer # 56


Seems to me all the evidence points to complete engine failure.

So why after being hit by a exploding missile was it still able to turn around and try and land in a soccer field?

Why did witnesses say “saw plane with engine and wing on fire, that it tried to land?

Just too many questions.

Posted by: bjc | Jan 11 2020 8:52 utc | 65

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the Supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. There it is. The US condemned by its own words.

Posted by: Scuppera | Jan 11 2020 9:01 utc | 66

In this NY Times article, it says

"Iran’s military announced early Saturday that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, blaming human error because of what it called the plane’s sharp, unexpected turn toward a sensitive military base."

Then later in the article...

"The plane turned back toward the airport before it exploded and crashed, other videos verified by The Times showed."

I want to know why the plane turned back and did the pilot radio anything. The crash site was north east of the last radar contact.

Posted by: Boo | Jan 11 2020 9:01 utc | 67

Thank you @Boo 53

And all the others eagerly jumping on the claim of alleged Iranian "stupidity"I'd llike to ask how much they've learned from all the assumptions made within the last days which didn't prove correct. What makes you confident to judge right this time?

And as for @45
For en lille abe er du utrolig hurtigt med dine dømmer.

Posted by: Paleene | Jan 11 2020 9:02 utc | 68

Posted by: S | Jan 11 2020 7:21 utc | 46

5 eyes seemed to know a lot about it including that the plane was hit by a Russian Tor system.

According to German Wikipedia Tor is related to BUK and works autonomous.

As a poster in the other thread suggested, why don't these systems recognize Boeing Airliners as friend not foe?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 9:05 utc | 69

I know where the fundamentally decent human beings are most likely to reside and despite all the astroturfers claims to the contrary, it sure ain't amerika.

In fact the way that some of the plants have revealed themselves over these last few days,does nothing other than demonstrate the depths of depravity that those amerikans scrambling for a dollar will fall even if when badly hurts decent humans. Amerika murdered Iran's best 'outside the box' thinker, this is something to regret even as we salute the man. The important thing is not to fall into despair, the vital thing to consider is that in Iran, those patriots who use their brains to develop original ways to defeat the great satan will always be celebrated even if well-earned ascendancy of one temporarily slows the process of anointing the next, in amerika both would be dismissed outta hand as not being a team player dedicated to advancing the interests of shareholders first.

PS This morning Aotearoa time PressTV ran a doco on how the axis of resistance is succeeding in driving ISIS/Daesh outta Baiji and its surrounding oil industry tech, despite the huge gifts of gold, munitions. alleged strategic planners and greedy mainchancers amerika 'gifted' the greedy morons who tossed their hats into the 'murka' ring.
For me the most telling moment was when the axis of resistance hit the quartermaster's store of the ISIS troops and unearthed a huge stash of US DoD ready to eat rations. Made by some corrupt warmongers in debt to a cartel of warmonger pols, no doubt. All sorts of variations on foul looking cardboard tasting yankee takes on mexican tucker. Only amerika is so arrogant as to conclude that any reasonably well adjusted human would prefer amerikan ersatz food to genuine actual pieces of meat, additionally flavoured with actual y'know, nutritious vegetables and real side dishes of actual food.

Posted by: A User | Jan 11 2020 9:06 utc | 70

“Between 06:14:20 and 06:14:45 the plane turned right 24º (from the take-off heading of 289º to 313º), according to flight data.”

As did other planes that night—see the charts in Flightradar24’s blog post “Ukrainian flight PS752 crashes shortly after take off from Tehran”. The post has been updated with a list of all flights that departed on that night and a chart of PS752’s departure paths over the past 3 months.

Posted by: S | Jan 11 2020 9:09 utc | 71

five eyes will come at you covered in any type of sheep clothing. Australian aid to east timor, UK's white helmets, plenty of stories of CIA inserting itself into aid agencies. Operation northwoods was one scheme put forward but not carried out. Sounds like the Ukraine plane may have made a sudden turn to head back to the airport but towards a protected site without allowing time for air defences to be notified.
There may be more to this story when flight records are retrieved.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 9:11 utc | 72

Posted by: Jason | Jan 11 2020 6:28 utc | 38

Information in German Wikipedia was that US managed to stop Russia to sell S300 to Iran so they bought the Tor System. I don't know if this information is outdated or not.

Lot of this is propaganda. It is quite possible that Iran concentrated on missile deterrence and did not bother with air defence.

This seems to be the case with all militaries. Israel cannot defend against missiles and since Kim Yong Un can reach the United States North Korea is safe.

And all the missiles on the US installations got through in Iraq.

Trump with his twitter threats of attacks on Iran (which let's face it was an "inofficial" declaration of war) certainly put them on alert.

But the TOR system should have recognized the Boeing as friendly. It did not as the BUK in Ukraine did not.

Anyway, Civilians should wake up that wars cannot be won any longer. Your military is able to attack but cannot defend you. You might as well reign in your military and spend the money on yourself.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 9:20 utc | 73

S 77
At some point, the aircraft made a complete turn back to the airport. From what I can make of the various reports, it did experian problems, perhaps due to over loading, uneven loading or something else hence the initial Iranian and Ukraine reports of technical problems bring the plane down. It makes me think the plane was hit while turning back to the airport, the turn back to the airport and it seems the turn was toward a defended site, bringing response from air defences on high alert.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 9:28 utc | 74

Germany also show its aggression, begin to sound like Trump:

"General Secretary of Merkel’s party calls for sanctions against Iran"
German politician Paul Ziemiak calls Iran's leadership a "terrorist regime."

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 9:32 utc | 75

From Rob Lee twitter

A thread on Iran's Tor systems
"In addition, Iran was likely very concerned that a single US air strike could destroy much of its air defense assets, so it likely dispersed them (which may have delegated launch decisions to lower level officers) and kept many of its radars turned off."

Iran's SAM coverage /(Sept 2018)

Posted by: Tom | Jan 11 2020 9:47 utc | 76

Are risk analyses un-islamic? Because doing one should have resulted in either no sensitive IRGC base being built under the flightpath or the flightpath being moved far away from a sensitive IRGC base if such a base actually exists. The IRGC closed the Imam Khomeini International Airport almost immediately after it was first opened because it was operated by foreigners.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 11 2020 9:55 utc | 77

It was not a mistake. A fully fulled boeing heading towards a militairy side will be shotdown, especially if theres no radiocontact and it has turned and decending. Perhaps the israeili tryed a 9/11 again, this time with a jewish owned ukrainian plane. The anti aircraft guys did what had to be done, elliminate the incoming threat, even if it is a civilian aircraft. The pilots made the mistake, or were forced to, to enter militairy airspace in a high allert situation.
The iranian airsafety guy made the mistake by claiming it was impossibel.

Posted by: Gary | Jan 11 2020 10:01 utc | 78

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 9:28 utc | 80

I don't think it is beyond the US to have used the opportunity to test Iranian radars. Iran said something about lots of US planes flying around. All this during normal civilian air traffic without official declaration of war.

It would explain the extreme understanding for the mistake on display.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 10:01 utc | 79

My previous post, Iran's SAM coverage mentions holes in the Iranian AD system. Several important cities, oil facilities radar factories were lacking adequate defence. This fear of vulnerability could have very well led to this tragic accident.

Posted by: Tom | Jan 11 2020 10:09 utc | 80

A very tragic mistake, and a human error. But the Iranians’ response clearly demonstrates the difference between the behavior of a civilized society vs. that of an uncivilized rogue state (aka USA). To err is human. Iran once again takes the moral high ground.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Jan 11 2020 10:13 utc | 81

somebody 87

Apparently the Iranians were also getting false reports about strikes in various parts of the country.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 10:19 utc | 82

Personally, I don't believe the Iranians shot it down.They know it will be tough (if not inpossible)to point out the culprits and prove their guilt.By them taking responsibility,they not only reduce speculation,but also surprise the real perpertrators.They surely were expecting the Iranians to deny this and in doing so,lose the sympathy they've received this far. Well played Iran.

Posted by: Johwa | Jan 11 2020 10:25 utc | 83

@ Keith McClary # 37

"Will Iran and USA pay compensation to relatives of the Iraqis, Iranians and other victims of this conflict?

I'd imagine the Iranians will compensate in some way the families who lost family members, especially since they're taking responsibility for the tragedy. The americans unlikely will compensate anyone. As for the greater conflict nobody will get compensated except the weapons manufacturers.

Any chance you were near wingate, NC fifty years ago later this year? Iff'n so what a brew ha ha, eh?

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Jan 11 2020 10:26 utc | 84

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 10:01 utc | 87

They are saying that the commander got information that a cruise missile was on its way, and that he asked for verification but got no answer.

Sounds like their communication system got hacked.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 10:28 utc | 85

A week is a long time in politics (Harold Wilson) and war. This will embolden the US and Israel to attack Iraqi PMU's even more. Will Iraq be able to get AD systems now is the question. The wolves will be howling even louder at Iran's door. The final report on the accident should provide more information, but rest assured if that information doesn't fit into the bomb bomb bomb Iran it will be ignored. I wonder about that deleted report of a plane shot down over Bandar Abass had if the report had reached AD operators.

Posted by: Tom | Jan 11 2020 10:30 utc | 86

Remember folks, telling truth and accepting responsibility are 2 things US and Israel never do. These are actions done only by the weak, not something uber people do.

Dogs bark and caravan moves on.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 11 2020 10:42 utc | 87

Iran military have shown themselves to be tech savy and highly disciplined force, using pinpoint accuracy against the US drone and the US bases. There was also the strike on Saudi oil infrastructure, likely by one of Iran's allies but also most likely Iran tech.

The five-eyes narrative. Iran shot the Ukraine plane down with a Tor missile (not just surface to air missile but a tor missile).... by mistake (incompetence).
Five eyes had the narrative ready to go and it is designed to make the Iranians look like incompetents in charge of dangerous equipment rathe than the highly trained professional force they are.
Apart from the new name obvious trolls, I see a few here are living in Rove's new reality in which Iran military is ill trained and undisciplined.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 10:45 utc | 88


‘I wish I was dead’: Senior IRGC commander accepts full responsibility for downing Ukrainian plane, apologizes to nation

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 10:50 utc | 89

Due to the five eyes narrative, I think we will find in the end that just as Israel caused Syria to shoot down a Russian plane, US and Israel deliberately caused Iran to shoot down the Ukraine plane as a response to Iran's precision strikes on the US bases.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 10:51 utc | 90

According to the commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Iranian air defence systems mistook the Boeing 737 for a cruise missile. The plane was shot down with a short-range projectile, he added.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 11 2020 10:54 utc | 91

Sounds very much like the situation with the Russian Il-20 that was brought down in Syria last year. Was someone trying to use the Ukrainian jet as a cover to attack the IRGC site?

Hostile planes in the area.

Flight 752 making an approach "positioning itself at the altitude and form of a hostile flight".

Maybe some experts will explain how common is it for an airliner to have an altitude and trajectory consistent with a hostile flight (of an attacking missile).

Apparently the plane first took on extra fuel because it was overloaded and then offloaded cargo because then it was even more overloaded. This seems illogical. What is the standard practice in these cases?

And then there was someone who was there early in the morning ready to take video of the flight.

And we had pictures of the missile fragment very soon after the crash. Someone knew what to look for and searched for it.

Remote controlled hijacking???

Many questions-few answers.

Perhaps the solution is to have a S-300 or S-400 system put in place just like Putin did after the IL-20 shootdown.

Quote from Farsnews

"Following threats by the criminal US president and military commanders to strike a large number of targets on the Islamic Republic of Iran's territory in case of an Iranian attack and due to the unprecedented aerial movements in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces were on highest levels of alert to respond to any possible threats," the statement said.

"In the early hours after the missile attack, military flights of the US terrorist forces increased around the country and defense units received some reports about flying objects that were moving towards the country's strategic centers as several targets appeared on radar screens which made the air defense units more sensitive," it added.

"Under such sensitive and critical circumstances, flight number 752 of the Ukrainian airline company left Imam Khomeini airport and then approached a sensitive military center after a turn, positioning itselt at the altitude and form of a hostile flight and was hit because of a human error and unintentionally under such conditions, and as a result a number of our country men and women and some foreign citizens lost their lives," it added.

End quote

Posted by: jiri | Jan 11 2020 10:58 utc | 92

Johwa @ 92:

My first thought on seeing the news that the Iranian military had admitted to shooting down UIA Flight PS752 was similar to yours.

By making this admission, the Iranians nip in the bud any conspiracy theories and narratives that their enemies might try to weave and convince the public around the world (and especially diaspora Iranians) insinuating their guilt, whether actual or not, in the plane crash.

Supposing the Iranians did deliberately shoot down the plane, there may be a reason why they decided to say it was an accident: such an admission not only absolves them from accusations of cold-bloodedness which might cost them the trust of their neighbours (and others beyond their neighbourhood) but also relieves them of having to explain the real reason for shooting down the plane - because that reason may very well be something involving Ukraine in a regime-change activity or operation against Iran or one of its allies.

Chechens are known to be in Ukraine, and to be fighting for and against Kiev. What other groups not normally resident in Ukraine might have arrived there in the years since Yanukovych's ousting as President in February 2014, being trained as fighters to fight in other lands that have committed the unholy sin of defying the United States and the masters Washington DC serves?

What the Iranians have done in admitting culpability is sure to displease a lot of people, not satisfy them. They sure didn't see that one coming.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 11 2020 11:01 utc | 93

@ all - I just appended the piece above with some translation from a press conference of the IRGC Aerospace commander and with an interesting report from the Ukrainian investigation group.


Posted by: b | Jan 11 2020 11:08 utc | 94

@ James 65

I'm open to the possibility of being wrong for whatever reason, be it cultural incompatibility or whatever else. At the same time, I am unable to treat statements as facts, whether or not there is a tenant in Iranian culture to trust the honesty of public officials. In my mind, a confession is the manifestation of willingness to accept responsibility for an event, not inculpatory evidence, and remains open to interpretation.

As an aside, Russian newsreel on Россия 24 quotes some Iranian official that the plane veered off from its designated route into an area of sensitive military infrastructure before being targeted by air defenses. This might leave the option of avoiding responsibility in part or in full, depending on further details that may be uncovered during the investigation. As Gary said in post 86,

A fully fulled boeing heading towards a militairy side will be shotdown, especially if theres no radiocontact and it has turned and decending.

In that case, the downing of the plane would be intentional, and the mistake becomes one of reacting appropriately but misreading the situation. Any plane flying into restricted airspace and behaving erratically can become a fair target, and that it does so due to some malfunction rather than malicious intent, while unfortunate, does little to change the correct SOP.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 11 2020 11:08 utc | 95

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 10:51 utc | 99

I am sure they will fix the problem.

Why did the US not bother to warn other airlines?

But shortly before the crash, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced an emergency flight restriction for U.S. airlines flying over areas of Iraq and Iran. The FAA warned of the “potential for miscalculation or misidentification” of civilian planes because of increased military tensions in those areas.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 11 2020 11:09 utc | 96

Iran will now be taken to the cleaners. The entire IRGC is classified by Washington as a terrorist organisation so I imagine some US vulture law firm is already looking at taking action in American courts against Iran in the full expectation that each victim's estate will be awarded billions of dollars compensation and the US law firm will earn billions in fees. Iran should get ahead of this game and make offers of substantial compensation (far more than the legal minimum) to the families of all the victims.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 11 2020 11:17 utc | 97

Right, now the cause of the tragedy is known can we shift focus back to the real big picture news from Wednesday: US forces in the ME are totally exposed to Iranian "vengeance" for Soleimani (& in Iraq, Iraqi vengeance for Muhandis) Trump is afraid of war with Iran and the US cannot protect its allies in the region.

Posted by: Soleimani's Ghost | Jan 11 2020 11:24 utc | 98

. The greatest irony of it all:
-- That the US almost never compensate the families or counties hit by 'mistakes' or killed as 'collateral damage'.
-- That the Iran authorities and judicial system make some compensation obligatory.
-- That Iran has been cut off from the means to aquire US dollars or Euro and have been cut off from all international payment systems: Any compensation would have to be paid in Iranian reals and used within Iran.
. Good for future tourism by airplane travel to Tehran?

Posted by: Oū Sī / 區司/ Usman | Jan 11 2020 11:29 utc | 99

b From your update
"IRGC Aerospace Cmdr.: The officials, including Aviation authorities, who kept denying the missile hit, are not guilty. They made those remarks based on what they knew. We are to blame for everything."
"What I find unexplainable is that the crew of Tor M-1 air defense system did not really consider that the Tehran airport was operating and that civil traffic was likely. More the ten planes had already taken off that before the Ukrainian flight took to the air."

"They made those remarks based on what they knew." At the start both Iran and Ukraine were certain the aircraft had come down due to technical problems. Why... I take it the pilots told air traffic control they had technical problems which was reported at the time. This is the difference between the Ukraine flight and the other flights.
Did the aircraft then turn back towards the airport and in doing so turn towards the military area.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2020 11:32 utc | 100

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