Iranians Question Authorities For Hiding Truth on Ukrainian Plane Incident
Iran said on Saturday that the Ukrainian passenger plane was downed by a missile fired unintentionally, a statement deemed insufficient by Iranians who said the authorities' expressions of condolence "were not enough".
A senior Revolutionary Guards commander said on Saturday in a broadcast on Iranian state television that the plane was misidentified as a cruise missile.
According to Reuters, aerospace division head Amirali Hajizadeh said the plane was shot down by a short-range missile.
For days, Iran had denied Western accusations it was responsible for Wednesday's crash soon after take-off from Tehran, in which all 176 people aboard were killed. However, authorities confirmed on Saturday that air defences had been fired in error while on high alert following Iranian missile strikes on US targets in Iraq.
Meanwhile, expressions of condolence over the incident from Supreme Leader and President Hassan Rouhani failed to calm angry Iranians, who used social media to express their outrage against the establishment for concealing the truth.
"It is a national tragedy. The way it was handled and it was announced by the authorities was even more tragic," said Ali Ansari, a moderate cleric, according to Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency.
Other Iranians asked why authorities did not close down Tehran's airport and the country's airspace at a time when they would have been on alert for retaliation after the missile strikes.
"They were so careful not to kill any US in their revenge for Soleimani. But they did not close the airport? This shows how much this regime cares for Iranians," said Mira Sedaghati in Tehran by telephone.
Another Iranian from Tabriz city questioned: "Unintentionally? What does it mean?"
"They concealed this huge tragic news for days just to mourn for Soleimani. Shame on you," he added, Reuters reported.