IRGC: Air defense systems register Ukrainian aircraft as a missile


Iran’s air defense systems registered the Ukrainian aircraft “mistakenly” shot down in Tehran as a cruise missile, said Revolutionary Guard Air Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizade.

The Iranian commander’s comments came at a press conference in the Tehran capital after authorities acknowledged that the Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane crashed “by mistake” from air defense systems, leaving all 178 people on board dead.

Hajizade said defense systems were on high alert as a result of heightened tensions in recent weeks between the US and Iran.

“The offensive and defensive units sounded a 100 percent alarm in particular after the Americans’ statements that they would hit 52 points,” Hajizade said.

“Air defense systems gave the operator information that a missile was launched towards Iran. Due to the flight direction, the aircraft was registered as a missile,” he added.

He said that the operator gives ten seconds to confirm or cancel the attack on the target, but added that there were communication problems at that moment and the operator fired automatically.

Hajizade also said that Iranian officials initially denied allegations that the plane had been shot down by a missile because they had no information on what had happened.

“When we were informed, we notified the General Staff,” said Hajizade.

“We accept responsibility in this event … We will obey any decision that the authorities will make regarding us,” the Iranian commander said, expressing “deep sorrow” over the incident.

Ukraine’s Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed Wednesday shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, just hours after the Revolutionary Guard fired dozens of ballistic missiles at bases where US troops were deployed in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s elite Quds force near Baghdad International Airport in a drone strike.

All 176 people aboard were killed in the crash, including Iranian, Canadian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Afghan, German and British nationals.


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