An airline of Ukraine International Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from Iran’s Tehran airport on January 8th, killing all 176 people on board. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Air Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh acknowledged the responsibility for accidentally shooting down a passenger plane at a press conference on the 11th, saying “I would rather die than me”. Faced with national accusations of concealing the facts, why did Iran acknowledge its responsibility after 3 days?
In the history of aviation, civil aviation passenger planes have been shot down-in particular, there are very few examples of being shot down by the national military. Excluding the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 by Ukrainian civilian armed groups, there has been no shooting down in the 2010s. Therefore, after the Ukrainian air crash, more experts will focus on human or mechanical failure.
It’s not too late to admit responsibility after 3 days in Iran
Iran initially refused to acknowledge the liability for the accident, saying that it was caused by an accident or a malfunction of the machine, and it is believed that this was also the reason. In fact, in the past, no one of the civil aviation planes shot down accidents admitted the mistake on the day of the accident. These included the Siberian Airlines Flight 1812 being shot down by the Ukrainian military in 2001, the Iranian Flight 655 being shot down by the US military in 1988, and the Korean Air Flight 007 being shot down by a former Soviet military aircraft in 1983.
In 1988, the U.S. military was initially reluctant to admit accidental responsibility. Until more information showed that the Aegis destroyer mistakenly identified the Iranian passenger plane as a fighter plane, the mistake was acknowledged a day later. It took Ukraine a week to confirm accidental strikes during the exercise in 2001; the Soviet Union took 5 days in 1983, but insisted that Korean Air passenger planes made “dangerous moves” before they were shot down.
Missiles can be traced down
It took Iran three days to acknowledge responsibility, but it was not too late. From the perspective of an air crash investigation, one of the easiest reasons to find and rule out is the shooting down. Because if a passenger plane is hit by a missile, there will be obvious “fragment penetration” marks on the plane.
Taking Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 as an example, investigators found that there were traces of rupture fragment penetration when there were multiple missiles exploding in the fuselage of the airliner, and these holes matched the fragments of the beech missile, so it was concluded that the passenger aircraft Pro-Russian armed groups shot down.
During the Ukrainian passenger plane crash, accident investigators quickly found the same fragment penetration hole, also found the suspected missile debris, and a short film believed to have been shot by an aircraft. With more and more evidence pointing down, Iran cannot escape responsibility.
Another reason to believe is to force Iran to recognize its responsibilities as soon as possible, because of multiple demonstrations in Iran in 2019, rising oil prices and economic sanctions leading to socio-economic instability, and the authorities’ repeated use of violent means to suppress public complaints. Facing a truth that will inevitably be revealed sooner or later, Iran has chosen to acknowledge the responsibility for the crash as soon as possible.
Iran blame part of the cause of the air crash on the “aggression” of the United States. This is the same excuse that the United States blamed the Iranian air crash because the passenger plane “flyed over a place that it should not fly over.”
Of the 176 dead in the Ukrainian air crash, 82 were from Iran, and some of the 57 Canadians were Iranian. Some of the deceased were Iranian students studying in Canada and returning home to visit relatives during the Christmas holidays. This is undoubtedly a tragedy.