Apart from a global uproar, there are several protests happening in Iran’s capital demanding the resignation of all the senior leaders in the country. This has been following the confirmed admission by Iran authorities that Iranian forces did indeed, though claimes accidentally, shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane. Iran officials after initial denials admitted that their missile actually downed the plane killing all the 176 passengers on board. The Flight PS752 crashed shortly after takeoff.
The Ukraine International Airlines airplane with flight number PS752 was bound for the city of Kyiv in Ukraine. however, it crashed just a few minutes after take-off. The plane was outbound from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday night. There are several videos that show the missile being launched and hitting the airplane midflight in the night sky erupts into a huge ball of fire. There are no survivors.
All this had happened just a few hours after Iran military launched about a dozen missile attacks on US forces in Iraq. This, in particular, was Iran’s retaliation to the US assassination of, Qassem Soleimani, their top Iranian military commander.
Even as condolences and outrage poured in from various countries, it has sparked a wave of protests in Iran as several Iranian citizens were also killed on board.
As confirmed by Franoice-Philippe Champagne, Iran has started issuing more visas to Canadian investigator teams to probe the crash, but all this is after the bodies and debris have been cleared from the crash site by Iran officials. First members of the crash investigation team have already reached to set up a base for the operations. Iran has invited experts from Canada, France, US and Ukraine to take part in the investigation. Also, Iran has refused to hand over the Black Box of the ill-fated flight for the probe.
It is reported that nationals from Iranians, Canadians, Ukraine, the UK, Afghanistan and Sweden have died on the plane. To offer an explanation of the incident, the Iran parliament summoned the Iranian General, Hossein Salami, to a closed-door session of the parliament. Further details are awaited.
Iran has categorically denied that its missiles did not specifically target the passenger plane and it was a human error leading to the catastrophe.
Meanwhile, protests have been happening in Tehran and other cities with thousands of people protesting despite a large deployment of security forces. Protesters can be heard chanting anti-government slogans, a significant number of the protesters being women. Protesters chanted slogans against the leadership and also clashed with security forces. To control the protests, the Iran Riot police, members of the elite Revolutionary Guard, police and plainclothes security officials were out in force. The video feed on Social media has shown protestors clapping and chanting in Tehran’s Azadi Square. Cases of the firing of tear gas to disperse the protests have been reported. The BBC Persian reported that there has been a crackdown on the protests by the Iran security forces in the capital.
Donald Trump Tweeted – “To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”
On Sunday, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper told that he “didn’t see” specific evidence/ indication that Iran was preparing any sort of attacks against US embassies.
Canadian Prime Minister Mr. Justin Trudeau said there has to be a proper investigation with “full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred”.
Mr. Dominic Raab, the British Foreign Secretary, said, UK ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire was detained in Tehran after attending a vigil where he was paying respects to victims of the crash. Some of the protestors were British. Britain has condemned this action as a “flagrant violation of international law”.