Plane crash in Iran kills all 176 aboard

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Photo//Associated Press/Ebrahim Noroozi

A fast moving investigation and international pressure led Iran to admit their human error. The error included a missile being launched at Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. All 176 of the crew and passengers were killed in the resulting crash.

January 11 saw the Iranian Revolutionary Guard admit that the plane had indeed been hit by a missile. Many reasons had been given trying to explain how a plane, comprised of mostly international students, could have been shot down. Initially Iran has declared the crash was due to a mechanical failure. This latest news backs Western agencies and their intelligence.

The Iranians at first called the accusations of wrongdoing purely political propaganda of sorts. There was a big push by the U.S, Ukraine and Canada. Among the passengers of flight 752 include 57 Canadians. Justin Trudeau called for “full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occured.” 

Flight data from Flightradar24 and videos verified by The New York Times and The Associated Press help piece together the tragic event. One video shows a missile being launched and as it climbs higher into the night sky it veers off camera. According to the New York Times, the Space-Based Infrared System used by the American military detected the missile launch further shedding doubt on the early Iranian claims that began to weaken in the wake of evidence coming out. The missile that caused the plane crash wasn’t a missile that explodes on impact, instead it is a missile that explodes close to the target creating shrapnel to take down the plane.

The Ukranian President Volodymir Zelenskiy was in talks with Iran regarding an investigation and there was a negotiation process taking place so that the Ukranian investigators could search the crash site. President Zelenskiy also thanked the U.S. and other Western allies for their intelligence and pressure that was placed on Iran for an investigation into the plane crash.

Questions had been raised, particularly in regards to why the flight was able to take off from the airport only hours after the missile strike amidst rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. There are no reports that there was anything out of the ordinary though and that the airport was operating as normal with planes taking off and landing. Now Iran is facing more pressure due to a suspicion from multiple groups that Iran was trying to hide what happened and now Ukraine is suggesting that Iran might not have taken responsibility if Ukranian investigators had not found missile fragments. 

The leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said they did not know the truth of what happened until Friday. This seems far from the truth seeing that Mr. Khamenei is the Commander in Chief and that Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, proposed the possibility that his forces shot down the plane on Wednesday according to the Associated Press.

The Iranian people are now in a fervor over the latest news about the lack of transparency and communication in the government and their leaders. There have been protests as well as people mourning the lives lost in the plane crash. There have been accusations that the Iranian government had misled the public. Tensions inside of Iran have escalated due to a renewed distrust in the government, the people calling for new leadership and for those involved to be prosecuted.

The Ukranian government is frustrated due to Iran seemingly hiding information pertaining to the crash and as the Ukranian investigators were allowed on site they reported that proper procedures were not being followed and that debris, instead of staying where it landed, was being moved into piles. Ukranian President Zelensky was in talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and they agreed to allow French specialists to decode the black box flight recorders that would allow for the investigators to get a better understanding of what happened and where everything went wrong. The investigations are ongoing and more information will be available as it becomes more clear to what happened and who is responsible and how Iran and the international community respond as well.