The Iranian government has admitted that its military unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board, Iran’s state TV reports.
It said the error was done so due to “human error” after the plane flew close to a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Mistaken for a “hostile target“, the jet was hit by a missile, the statement said.
In a tweet on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested “US adventurism” was partly to blame for the downing of the Ukrainian jet.
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.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020
The downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 with the loss of 176 lives came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.
The Ukrainian flight, en route to Kyiv, came down near Imam Khomeini Airport shortly after take-off.
US media had speculated that the Ukrainian airliner may have been mistaken for a warplane as Iran prepared for possible US retaliation.
The Iranian air strikes were launched in retaliation to the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone attack on 3 January.
Victims of the disaster included 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from Sweden, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany.