Several people have been arrested in Iran for the accidental demolition of a Ukrainian passenger plane with a missile, says the country’s judiciary.
Spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said investigations into the incident were continuing, but did not provide details.
President Hassan Rouhani said the investigation would be supervised by a “special court.”
Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down shortly from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.
The majority of the victims were Iranian and Canadian citizens.
During the first three days after the accident, Iran denied that its armed forces had shot down the Boeing 737-800 and suggested there was a technical failure.
But as the tests increased, the Revolutionary Guards said the operator of a missile defense system had confused the plane with an American cruise missile and shot it.
Iran’s air defenses had been on alert because the country had just fired ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq, in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian chief general Qasem Soleimani in an attack by US drones in Baghdad.
The admission of responsibility caused widespread anger in Iran, and protesters took to the streets of the capital and several other cities to denounce the lies of the government and clerical leadership, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
What do we know about Iran’s research?
Mr. Esmaili said at a press conference in Tehran that the judiciary “would investigate the causes and the direct impact of the incident.”
He added: “We will investigate the extent to which the US war caused this event. Several people have been arrested and the investigation continues.”
In a televised speech, President Rouhani said the judiciary would meet a special court with a high-ranking judge and dozens of experts to oversee the investigation.
“This will not be a habitual and habitual case. The whole world will be observing this court.”
Rouhani also stressed that Wednesday’s “tragic event” should not be attributed to a single individual.
“It’s not only the person who pulled the trigger, but also other responsible people,” he said.
“The Iranian armed forces that admit their mistake is a good first step,” he added. “We must assure people that it will not happen again.”
The president also said he wanted the relevant officials to explain publicly why it took the authorities days to reveal that missiles were fired on PS752.
The Iranian government spokesman has denied that he has been involved in a cover-up, saying that Rouhani was not told what had happened until Friday night.
The commander of the Aerospace Force of the Revolutionary Guard said Saturday that he had informed the “officials” about the attack hours after the incident.
Esmaili also said that about 30 people had been arrested for “participating in illegal meetings,” an apparent reference to recent anti-government protests.
“We have tolerance towards legal manifestations,” he added.
On Monday, Tehran’s police force denied firing live ammunition at protesters after at least one person was shot and injured last night.
What do other countries say?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC on Tuesday he was “happy” that Iran has acknowledged having made a “terrible mistake” by shooting down the plane.
“It is good that they have apologized. The most important thing now is that the tensions in the region calm down.”
“I was in Oman over the weekend, talking to people in the region, and they don’t want a military conflict between the West and Iran.”
Johnson said that the next step for Iran was to “repatriate in a dignified manner” the bodies of the passengers and the crew of flight PS752, which included three Britons.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said Monday that five of the countries that had citizens on board the plane (Canada, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sweden and an unidentified country) would meet in London on Thursday to discuss possible actions legal.
He said “grieving nations” would resolve what steps to take individually and collectively to “bring the perpetrators to justice and how we can pay the families that have suffered.”
Meanwhile, Canada, which lost 57 citizens, will play a more active role than international standards require in the investigation of the plane’s demolition, according to the head of its Transportation Safety Board (TSB).
Kathy Fox said there were indications that Iran would allow the TSB to participate in the download and analysis of data from the flight data recorder and the voice recorder from the aircraft cabin.