Iran has admitted “unintentionally” shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people that were on board after previously denying reports that it caused the crash.
The jet, which was en route to Kiev yiv, came down near Imam Khomeini Airport shortly after take-off. The announcement came a day after officials from the US, UK and Canada said they believed the plane was accidentally brought down by an Iranian missile.
The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US forces in Iraq in retaliation for the US assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
The announcement by Tehran was met with protests calling for those responsible to be held accountable, with some demanding Iran’s Supreme Leader resign. “Commander-in-chief [Khamenei] resign, resign,” videos posted on Twitter showed hundreds of people chanting in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir university.
Abroad, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tehran’s admission an “important first step”. In a statement, the Prime Minister said: “We will do everything we can to support the families of the four British victims and ensure they get the answers and the closure they deserve.”
“This tragic accident only reinforces the importance of de-escalating tensions in the region,” he said. “It is vital that all leaders now pursue a diplomatic way forward.”
Iran’s downing of the plane was a “terrible tragedy”, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters News Agency.