The Head of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has accepted full responsibility for the downing of Ukrainian Airlines flight 752, revealing new details about the errors which led to the accident.
In a press conference on January 11, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said he “wished he could die” after being informed of the accident, which took place three days ago.
“Neither the IRGC nor the Armed Forces never intended to cover up, but this was a process that had to be perused,” the Press TV quoted the IRGC commander as saying.
Gen. Hajizadeh revealed that the country’s air defense network was on the “highest level of readiness” and alerted to of a possible cruise missile strike by the U.S. A few hours before the accident, the IRGC targeted U.S. bases in Iraq with ballistic missiles.
According to the Iranian commander, the operator of the Tor-M1 air-defense system, that shot down the plane, called for a halt in flights in the region during the night. He identified plane as a hostile cruise missile.
The operator wasn’t able to call for orders to deal with the perceived threat, as he is required to do, because of a failure in his communication system.
Gen. Hajizadeh said that the failure led the operator to “take the wrong decision” of firing on the perceived threat in a “ten-second” time-span.
All 176 crew members and passengers of the flight PS752, 147 of whom were Iranians, were killed in the crash. The plane was on a trip from Tehran to Kiev.
The IRGC commander said during the conference that concerned individuals were quarantined by the country’s higher authorities, stressing that the Guards will comply with any decision taken by them.
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