Iran’s justice orders military court to conduct immediate probe into plane crash

Iran’s judiciary has ordered an immediate probe into the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane which crashed near the capital Tehran earlier this week.

Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi issued an order on Saturday, calling on the military court to gather all the related data and documents from Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and the country’s Civil Aviation Organization.

Raisi also called for testimonies from the officials who were implicated and informed on the matter.

Iran’s Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri ordered Tehran’s military court to conduct a swift investigation into the incident.

On Saturday, Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces put out a statement saying the Ukrainian plane was shot down “unintentionally” due to “human error” and that those guilty would be brought to military justice.

The statement added that “by pursuing fundamental reforms in operational processes at the armed forces’ level, we will make it impossible to repeat such errors.”

The incident happened as Iran had “raised the sensitivity” of its air defenses due to increased hostile American aerial activity which came after “threats by the criminal American president and military commanders” to hit Iranian targets, the statement read.

All 176 crew members and passengers, 147 of whom were Iranians, died in the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) crash which came a few minutes after take-off from Tehran to Kiev on Wednesday.

International response

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday called on Iran to “bring the guilty to the courts” and make the “payment of compensation” and return the remains.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called for “transparency, and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims,” many of whom were Iranian nationals.

The chairman of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, expressed hope that “lessons will be learned” from the incident and that needed “action is taken by all parties”.

“If decryption of the black boxes and the work of the investigation do not prove that the Iranian army did this intentionally, and there are no logical reasons for this, the incident must be closed,” he said.

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