Iran said on Saturday its military had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane killing all 176 aboard, saying air defenses were fired in error while on high alert in the tense aftermath of Iranian missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that “human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster,” citing an initial armed forces investigation into the crash of the Boeing 737-800.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter, promising that those behind the incident would be prosecuted. “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families.”
A military statement said the plane flew close to a sensitive military site of the elite Revolutionary Guards. At the time, planes had been spotted on radar near strategic sites leading to “further alertness” in air defenses.
Iran had previously vigorously denied bringing the plane down. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who until Saturday kept silent about the crash, said information should be made public.