Iran raps West for exploiting Ukrainian plane tragedy

Mohammad Dehqan, the vice president for legal affairs, on Wednesday said officials are following up on the case at the international level to prove the “bitter and tragic” incident was accidental. 
Dehqan said they’ve made contact with the families of the victims and paid compensation to some of them, but noted that Iran’s enemies are trying to exploit the incident for vested interest.
“No sane human would judge that we deliberately caused the plane to crash. But adversaries are misusing the issue as they bear grudge against Iran”, he said, while pointing to a statement by the International Civil Aviation Organization that described the incident as unintentional.
Dehqan said the Iranian judiciary’s verdicts against ten military personnel earlier this week will make it difficult for some countries to politicize the human tragedy, Press TV reported.
He was referring to a court ruling issued on Monday that gave the commander of an air defense unit 13 years in prison and nine other officers prison terms ranging from one to three years.
According to the court order, the defendants said they had mistaken the plane for a cruise missile.
The Ukrainian flight PS752 crashed after being hit by two missiles on January 8, 2020, minutes after it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, with all the 176 people on board being killed.
The incident came amid high tensions between Iran and the US over the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani when Iran’s air defense was on high alert in anticipation of a potential US attack.
Hours before the incident, Iran had staged a missile attack against an Iraqi base housing American troops in response to a deadly US drone attack killing Iran’s top anti-terror general.
Days later, Iran said that the mismanagement of an air defense unit’s radar operator was the key human error leading to the incident.
Canada also said in June 2021 that it had found no evidence that the incident was premeditated.
However, some Western countries and media have on occasions sought to discredit Iran’s narrative of the incident, accusing Tehran of deliberately targeting the plane, without offering evidence.
On Tuesday, a coordination group representing Canada, Sweden, the UK and Ukraine said in a statement that the court trials lacked impartiality and transparency.
Iran says it has invited Ukraine and the US, which built the downed aircraft, to partake in the investigations.  

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