IRGC Aerospace chief elaborates on Ukrainian plane mishap

TEHRAN, Jan. 11 (MNA) – Head of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) referred to the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, which crashed near the capital Tehran earlier this week, saying that “we assume all responsibilities for the incident.”

“We assume all the responsibility for this incident and will obey whatever decision the authorities take,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said in a press conference on Saturday.

The passenger plane, with 179 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on Wednesday morning. It happened a few hours after Iran fired dozens of missiles at the US airbase inside Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3.

Hajizadeh elaborated on the issue, saying that due to the unprecedented tensions in the past week all the defense divisions of the country were on full alert.

To boost the offensive and defensive parts, he said, several systems were added to the defensive ring around the capital city of Tehran.

The general noted that the first defensive system, positioned west of Tehran, identified the plane as a “cruise missile”.

“We requested to clear the country’s skies from all flights for several times,” he said.

Hajizadeh noted that the operator should have called the higher authorities for the missile launch, but due to some potential technical problems, he couldn’t make the call.

While the operator only had 10 seconds to decide for the launch, the commander said, he took “the bad decision and launches the missile that hit the plane.”

MNA/IRN83629483

News Code 154418

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