The commander of the Iranian Armed Forces’ Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, has apologized for shooting down Ukraine’s Boeing 737, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.
“Never in my life was I so ashamed. Perhaps we made a mistake that caused many of our compatriots to die. However, we did it unintentionally, we apologize,” the media outlet quoted Salami as saying during his speech in the Iranian parliament.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport minutes after takeoff on Wednesday. All 176 people on board were killed, including citizens of Iran, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The crash occurred shortly after Iran launched airstrikes against US bases in neighbouring Iraq. On Saturday, the Iranian military acknowledged full responsibility for erroneously downing the jetliner over Tehran. The Iranian air defence system confused the Ukrainian passenger plane with a hostile cruise missile and due to disrupted communication, the operator made the unilateral decision to shoot it down, the IRGC explained. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he expects Iran to admit guilt, officially apologize, punish all those who are guilty and pay compensation.