TEHRAN, January 25. /TASS/. The person whose error resulted in the downing of a Ukrainian airliner by the Iranian army is in prison, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.
"The person who shot down a Ukrainian airliner in Iran by mistake is today in prison," the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Iran’s top diplomat compared the incident with the crash of an Iranian airliner shot down by the US Armed Forces by mistake in 1988. "Washington has not officially apologized for this incident up to date. And even the officer complicit in this attack was decorated with a medal," Zarif said.
A Boeing 737 airliner of the Ukrainian International Airlines crashed several minutes after its takeoff from Tehran Airport on January 8. A total of 176 people, including citizens of Afghanistan, Germany, Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Great Britain and Sweden were killed in the crash.
The Iranian General Staff issued a statement on January 11, admitting that the Ukrainian plane had been shot down by mistake. Commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (the elite wing of the Iranian military) General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the national air defense systems had mistaken the passenger plane for a cruise missile.
On July 3, 1988, an Iranian A-300 Airbus was shot down by a missile launched from a US Navy cruiser, which mistook it for a military plane. A total of 290 people died in the crash.