Earlier today, President Rouhanie of Iran formally admitted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet leaving Tehran a few days ago.
Speculation has been rampant, but here are the alleged facts of the case, at this time:
- In the early hours of the 8th January, Iran launched missiles at two US-occupied bases in Iraq. This was done in retaliation for the death of General Qassem Soleimani.
- Ukraine Airlines flight PS 752 departed Tehran airport on 8th January. Three minutes later it crashed. There were 176 passengers/crew on board. Mostly Iranians, Ukrainians and Canadians.
- Within hours, Western media were quoting anonymous “Iraqi intelligence officials” that Iran had shot the plane down “likely by accident”.
- The US State Dept, and their proxy NGOs, echoed this theory. A great rundown of who said what and when can be found on Moon of Alabama.
- Despite at first denying these accusations, the Iranian government has since admitted to “accidentally” downing the plane. Their statement can be read here (or here in the original Farsi).
- Iran claim the missiles were launched by an individual who was out of radio contact with his commander and “panicked” upon seeing the fast-moving object on radar.
- Response to the admission has come from many world leaders. Justin Trudeau called for “further investigation”, Vladimir Zelensky demanded Iran take “full responsibility”, whilst Boris Johnson called it “an important first step”. The US has already announced further sanctions.
- Reports are already coming in of “unrest” and “protests” in the wake of this admission. The Guardian and Newsweek, among others, claiming young people especially are tired of the leadership demanding “resignations and prosecutions” (we are, as yet unable to confirm these protests took place).
So what does this mean for the region as a whole?
Will this – as Boris Johnson said – be “first step to de-escalation” in the region? Will there be extensive protests? Will Iraq now rescind their demand the US leave their country?
As always, discuss below.