By Pooya Stone
After several days, the Iranian government was compelled to admit that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) anti-aircraft system shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner that crashed north of Tehran on Wednesday.
Iranian officials initially attempted to hide this unbelievable crime by staging some false information and hollow claims.
However, unquestionable footages and reliable revelation by experts and different governments including the U.S., Canada, Britain, and NATO pushed the regime to reveal the truth.
This admission comes while Iranian authorities relentlessly tried to evade responsibility. “It is not technically feasible to detonate the aircraft… The theory of the missile strike is not logical… At the time of the Boeing crash, we had nine planes flying around and is it possible that an air defense shoots down an airplane that is 8,000 feet high?” the state-run newspaper Jomhuri Eslami quoted the head of Iran’s civil aviation Ali Abedzadeh as saying on January 9.
Also, the head of Disaster Investigation Commission Hassan Rezaeifar rejected the speculation about the airliner crash is due to a missile strike. “Given the pilot’s effort for coming back to the airport, there is no reason for speculating topics like missile strike, rocket attack, or anti-aircraft regarding airliner crash,” Rezaeifar claimed in talks with Jomhuri Eslami’s reporter on January 10.
Notably, the commander of IRGC’s aerospace force Amir Ali Hajizadeh removed the curtains and admitted, “In the first hours that I was informed (Wednesday morning), I informed my superiors.” In this respect, all the officials including the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, IRGC commanders, etc. were informed about the reason for the jetliner’s crash. However, they deliberately tried to conceal the scope of the disaster. Time and again, officials appeared in interviews, tweeted, and claimed in press conferences that a “technical defect” was the reason for the airliner coming down.
Several False Statements by the Officials about "Technical Defect"
Minister of Roads and Transportation Mohammad Eslami claimed that a “technical defect” was the reason for the airliner crash. “Rumor about a terror attack, explosion, or shooting toward the plane as the reason for the incident and crash the Ukrainian airliner are wrong and a ’technical defect’ was the reason,” ISNA quoted Eslami as saying on January 8. On Thursday morning, the spokesman of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation Qassem Biniaz claimed, “The reason for the airliner crash was one of its engines catching fire.”
“The Boeing 737 related to the Ukrainian Airlines has crashed due to a ’technical defect‘ after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran,” ILNA News Agency quoted Mojtaba Khaledi, the spokesman of the emergency organization, as saying on January 8.
Rouhani advisor Hesamodin Ashna warned reporters by Iranian nationality against becoming involved in mental warfare over the Ukrainian plane. “The Iranian nationalities of Persian-language media are warned to refrain from involving in mental warfare over the Ukrainian airplane and complying with anti-Iran parties,” he tweeted on January 9.
Saturday Morning Brought the Truth
They intensively pursued to escape themselves from the consequences of the death of 176 innocent people, but finally, they failed. However, while the truth made public, he stepped back and tried to escape himself from this scandal. He tweeted, “What [we] considered news, was a lie. What [we] considered a lie was news. We were frauded. Shameful concealing!”
In this context, the President and Foreign Minister blamed the U.S. and the elimination of Qassem Soleimani, the notorious head of the Quds Force, to justify their deliberate crime. They, of course, didn’t express that they were informed about the genuine reason for jetliner crash but extended their apologies and condolences to the families of the victims. However, this admission raised the wrath of the people, particularly students who lost their partners, and ignited a new round of protests against the officials.
Iranians' Hatred for Authorities' Lies
On the evening of January 11, 6 pm, a large group of people gathered in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University in sympathy and solidarity with the families of the victims. Another group of people, especially art students, gathered at Tehran University. A similar rally took place at Sharif University.
Immediately, rallies turned into a political revolt against the officials who during the recent four days frauded them about the real reason for jetliner crash. They addressed high ranking authorities by chanting, “Death to Liars,” “IRGC! Shame on you, let go of our country,” “I’ll kill he who killed my brother,” “[Qassem] Soleimani was a murderer, and so is his leader [Ali Khamenei],” “Death to Khamenei.”
The Iranian government responded to fed-up students and other strata by firing tear gas and violence. However, the protests extended to other provinces including Hamedan, Isfahan, Yazd, Semnan, Kurdistan, Gilan, Fars. Notably, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) provided most footage and reports relying on its domestic network that covers hundreds of cities and towns inside Iran. Regarding the protests, the spokesman of the PMOI/MEK Shahin Gobadi said, “The protest by thousands of Iranians in Tehran and several other cities today and this evening burst the propaganda balloon of the regime regarding Qassem Soleimani’s elimination.”
"Protesters chanted 'Soleimani is a murderer, his leader, i.e., Ali Khamenei, is also a murderer,' and tore down Soleimani’s pictures. They held the IRGC and the regime’s leaders responsible for crimes in Iran, including the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane and called for their removal,” Mr. Gobadi added.
He also mentioned the volatile situation of Iran’s society, saying, “The reports by the MEK network in Iran from protests today showed the true sentiments of Iranians and once again clearly proved that Iran is a powder keg and the Iranian people will not stop until the regime changes. Following the November anti-regime protests in 191 cities throughout Iran that the regime killed more than 1,500 protesters and arrested 12,000, the tide has shifted the regime in its entirety.”