Iran makes arrests for Ukraine plane demolition

An Iranian air defense battery shot down the plane last week, killing all 176 people on board, during a clash with the United States after an attack with US drones killed the powerful commander of Iran’s Quds Force, the Major General Qasem Soleimani, earlier this month.

Tehran retaliated last Wednesday, firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles against facilities in Iraq that house US troops.

In the hours after those attacks, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 with a ground-to-air missile, a movement that blamed “human error.” Among the dead were 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, including the crew. It was reported that the majority, if not all, of the Canadians were of Iranian origin or dual nationality.

Iranian officials initially denied reports that the plane was shot down, but on Saturday they admitted that the Revolutionary Guard, which maintains military bases in the area of ​​the accident, shot it down by mistake.

In the coming days, protests broke out in the streets of Tehran and other cities, led by students who criticized the missile attack and initial denials that the plane was shot down. They sang rare denunciations of Iran’s leadership, putting the government on the defensive.

The protests continued on Tuesday. The videos published on social networks showed dozens of students gathered at the University of Tehran. “Without honor. No honor, “they sang.” Our hands are empty, keep your cane! “

In a speech delivered on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani addressed the accident in detail and requested a special tribunal “with a high-ranking judge and dozens of experts” to investigate. “This is not a normal case, and everyone will follow the case in our court,” he said, according to a transcript of his comments posted on his official website.

“Our people know that this accident was the result of an error and error, but who was involved and what circumstances led to the accident?” He said. His comments seemed to partly blame the United States, which he said “inflamed the atmosphere and made the situation abnormal, threatened and took away our loved ones.”

“All this is true, but it does not mean that we should not address all the root causes of the incident,” he added. “It’s not just the one who pressed the button, but there are others, and I want this issue explained to people honestly.”

Rouhani He also seemed to blame military leaders for waiting days to announce that the plane had been shot down, and urged the authorities to “explain the whole process to the public.”

Rouhani does not exercise control over the judiciary or the army, which is under the direct supervision of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“It is very important for our people that whoever, at any level, is guilty, is presented and who is punished, is punished,” said Rouhani. “The most important thing is that people should make sure that such incidents do not happen again.”

Erin Cunningham contributed to this report.

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