Iran says it “unintentionally” shot down Ukrainian airplane

  Updated 21m ago

Ukrainian prime minister says Iran’s admission is “an important step”

Ukraine’s prime minister said Iran’s admission that it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet near the Iranian capital isn’t the end of investigating the catastrophe.

The admission “is an important step in the investigation process, which is still ongoing,” Oleksiy Honcharuk said in a Facebook post on Saturday. “Our experts are continuing to work at the scene of the tragedy with the aim of a detailed investigation of the causes and the final establishment of the truth.”

-The Associated Press

  53m ago

Trudeau: “Our focus remains closure, accountability, transparency, and justice”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Saturday, “Our focus remains closure, accountability, transparency, and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims” of Wednesday’s plane crash.

The statement was made after Iran announced its military “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard, including 57 Canadians.

“This is a national tragedy, and all Canadians are mourning together,” he said, according to Reuters.

“We will continue working with our partners around the world to ensure a complete and thorough investigation, and the Canadian government expects full cooperation from Iranian authorities.”

  Updated 12:25 AM

Iran’s president says the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake”

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani offered his apologies and condolences on Twitter. “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake,” he wrote. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” he added. “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also tweeted his “profound regrets, apologies, and condolences” to the families of the victims.

  Updated 12:27 AM

Iran says plane was mistaken for “hostile target,” blamed “human error”

In the military statement, Iran blamed “human error” for accidentally shooting down the passenger jet. 

The plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard, the statement added. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States. 

“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the statement said. It apologized for the disaster and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.

It also said those responsible for the strike on the plane would be prosecuted.

— The Associated Press

  7:20 PM

International group created to investigate crash

Canadian Foreign Affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne announced at a press conference Friday the creation of an international group of representatives to investigate the crash. The group will be made up of representatives from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ukraine, Canada and Afghanistan.

Champagne said that officials with the group’s member nations will talk and share information on a daily basis in an effort to confirm the cause of the crash, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company.  

Champagne also revised the number of Canadians on board, saying there were 57 Canadian citizens on board. Initial reports said there were 63 Canadians on board. 

  Updated 6:14 PM / January 10, 2020

Canada’s foreign affairs minister: Iran granted two visas to Canadian investigators

Iran has only two visas so far to representatives from Global Affairs Canada’s Standing Rapid Deployment Team and the Transportation Safety Board, Canadian Foreign Affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne tweeted Friday. The representatives are currently in Ankara, Turkey, he said.

“We are hoping the other visas will be approved soon so that we may begin to provide consular services, to help in the identification of victims and to participate in any investigation,” Champagne tweeted.

  3:09 PM / January 10, 2020

“Reason” for crash to be announced tomorrow, Iran’s news agency says

Iran’s semi-official state media, Fars News Agency, said Friday that the cause of the crash of a Ukrainian airliner outside Tehran on Wednesday will be released three days later, on Saturday. Earlier on Friday, an Iranian official said it could take “one or two years” to complete the investigation, Reuters reports

“The reason for the collapse of the Ukrainian passenger plane will be announced tomorrow after a meeting of the Air Accidents Commission, attended by both domestic and foreign parties involved in the incident,” reads a translated tweet from Fars. 

Similar investigations in the United States are handled by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB typically releases a preliminary report in about a 7-10 day timeframe. A final report typically takes a year.

Iranian officials leading the investigation into the crash have said they would allow representatives from the U.S., Canada, and France to join the crash assessment at a lab in Tehran. Ukrainian officials said they have been given access to the flight’s black box.  

  1:41 PM / January 10, 2020

Ukraine gains access to black box

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said at a press conference on Friday in Kiev that Iran has fully cooperated with their investigation, and given them access to the plane’s black box, the Agence France-Presse reports. 

The plane crashed early Wednesday morning near Tehran’s airport, less than a week after the United States killed Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
 
Prystaiko also said that Ukrainian experts have been given access to the plane’s fragments and the crash site. The debris from the crash had all but disappeared by Friday morning, when CBS News visited the site. 

“We’re analyzing the pieces of the body of the plane… We are analyzing the chemical residues on the body of the plane,” Prystaiko said. “We will come to our conclusions. We don’t want to come to them right now.”

“We have so many different versions of what could happen to the plane that we will need some time to really understand and tell,” he said. “We have not even started to reconstruct the black box information yet. This is the most vital piece of information.”

  Updated 12:22 PM / January 10, 2020

Sec. Pompeo says missile was likely Iranian

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press conference on Friday that it is likely the Iranians are behind the plane that crashed early Wednesday morning soon after takeoff from Tehran’s airport, killing all 176 people on board.

“We do believe that it is likely that the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile,” Pompeo said. “We are going to let the investigation play out before we make a final determination. It’s important that we get to the bottom of it.”

When asked what consequences Iran would face if it is determined they are behind the attack, Pompeo said he is in communication with his Canadian counterpart and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“They’re working to get their resources on the ground to conduct that thorough investigation” he said. “… And when we get the results of that investigation, I am confident that we and the world will take appropriate actions in response.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin added that the Treasury will issue sanction waivers to anyone helping to facilitate the crash investigation.

  10:55 AM / January 10, 2020

NATO chief backs U.S., allies assessment of missile strike

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Friday he had no reason to doubt reports from Western capitals suggesting an Iranian missile brought down a Ukrainian airliner, killing 176 people.

“I will not go into details about our intelligence but what I can say is we have no reason to not believe the reports we have seen from different NATO allied capitals,” Stoltenberg said.

Canada and Britain have both said publicly that intelligence shows Iran shot down the plane outside Tehran, possibly mistakenly. U.S. officials have told CBS News that American intelligence shows the same, and video has emerged that appears to show two missiles streaking toward the plane, which then bursts into flames.

Iran has vehemently denied that it shot down the jetliner.

– CBS/AFP

  Updated 10:11 AM / January 10, 2020

Iran says “certain” no missile hit Ukrainian jet

Iran’s civil aviation chief on Friday said he was “certain” that no missile had struck the Ukrainian passenger jet that burst into flames and crashed down outside Tehran earlier this week. 

Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s national Civil Aviation Authority, rejected U.S. and Canadian intelligence showing a pair of Iranian surface-to-air missiles likely brought the plane down just hours after Iran fired ballistic missiles at military bases home to American troops in Iraq.

“The causes we aren’t sure of yet, but as I said, that which we can say for certain is that a missile did not strike the plane,” Abedzadeh insisted.

He said that moments after noting that “any remarks made before the data is extracted (from the plane’s black boxes) is not an expert opinion.” 

Iranian officials said earlier that the country’s experts were working to extract and analyze data from the Boeing 737-800’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders at a “suitable laboratory” at a Tehran airport. They said that if they required help in doing so, they would seek it from Ukraine or France.

Asked about videos that appear to show missiles streaking toward the jet before it bursts into flames, Abedzadeh said “some videos have been circulating that support what we confirm, that the plane was on fire for 60 to 70 seconds… But videos that it was hit by something cannot be scientifically correct. That a plane could be struck by an object and continue to fly for 60-70 seconds, this is not possible.”

He also claimed the debris field — which had all but disappeared by Friday morning, according to a CBS News team that visited the site — would have been much wider had there been an explosion in the air. CBS News’ Elizabeth Palmer said it was a large crash site, but they were only permitted to view part of it.

  9:35 AM / January 10, 2020

Ukraine thanks U.S. for “information” to assist crash probe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that “information obtained from the U.S.” would help with the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian jetliner in Iran earlier this week. 

Iran has denied intelligence gathered by both U.S. and Canadian officials suggesting at least one Iranian surface-to-air missile brought down the plane minutes after it took off from Tehran early Wednesday morning. Iran is leading the investigation, but has said Ukrainian and French officials would be involved in the probe. 

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported Friday, however, that two days after the crash, virtually all the debris had been cleared and Ukrainian officials had not yet visited the crash site.

In a tweet after a phone conversation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Zelensky thanked the United States for “the condolences of the American people & valuable support of the U.S. in investigating the causes of the plane crash.”

  8:03 AM / January 10, 2020

Pompeo says “we’ll have to see” if something “insidious” downed plane

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded Friday morning to Iran’s flat denial of intelligence suggesting it mistakenly shot down a civilian passenger jet by accepting that it was “possible it’s a mechanical failure.”

But Pompeo told Fox News, “we’ll have to see if, in fact, it’s the case that there was something more insidious than this.”

Officials have said U.S. and Canadian intelligence shows a pair of Iranian surface-to-air missiles were fired from the Tehran area early Wednesday morning — just hours after Iran launched about 15 ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops — which likely brought down the Ukrainian International Airlines jet, killing everyone on board.

  Updated 8:34 AM / January 10, 2020

Video shows apparent missile strike

There were mounting indications Friday morning that Iran shot down the civilian passenger jet in its own airspace, killing many of its own citizens early Wednesday morning. 

U.S. officials confident two Iranian missiles hit Ukrainian plane

A video obtained by the New York Times appears to show the impact. In it you can see a bright flash, which sources tell CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer was likely the explosion of two surface-to-air missiles. 

Surveillance cameras picked up a shower of debris from the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 that crashed just minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport, killing 176 people. 

Palmer visited the crash site Friday morning and said there was barely any debris from the plane left, no security cordon around the site as Iran announced it was beginning its investigation with assistance from foreign partners, chiefly Ukraine and France. 

Watch the video above to see Palmer’s full report from Tehran.  

  Updated 6:52 AM / January 10, 2020

Iran says black boxes being assessed at “suitable laboratory”

Iran’s state-run media said Friday that representatives from the U.S., Canada and France were on their way to the Islamic Republic to join Iranian investigators leading the investigation into the crash of the Ukrainian jet that American officials say Iran likely shot down by mistake. Iran has made clear that its own investigators will lead the probe, and said the black boxes were already being assessed at a lab in Tehran.

Hassan Rezaiefar of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization was quoted by various Iranian outlets as saying the country’s investigators and experts from several domestic airlines were assessing the black boxes at a “suitable laboratory at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport” to see if they could reliably analyze the information from them “inside the country.”

IRNA said if the Iranians were unable to successfully extract the data, “with the aim of preventing damage to information,” they would seek help from Russia, France, Canada or Ukraine. 

  5:16 AM / January 10, 2020

Iran accuses U.S. of “spreading lies” about crash

A spokesman and adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has accused the U.S. government of “spreading lies” about the crash of a Ukrainian airliner this week, saying Washington should wait for the results of the ongoing investigation. 

Ali Rabiei also offered condolences to the families of the doomed Ukrainian International Airlines plane that came down near Tehran in his statement issued late Thursday, according to Iran’s state-run news agency Tasnim. 

U.S. officials have told CBS News that intelligence shows an Iranian surface-to-air missile struck the Boeing 737-800 minutes after it took off from Tehran, likely by mistake.

The “Civil Aviation Organization of Islamic Republic of Iran has now set up a committee to probe the incident in accordance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) regulations,” Rabai said, insisting that the committee, including experts from all countries involved in the plane crash, would transparently investigate the accident and announce the results.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board confirmed an invite from Iran, but said it was unclear how much of a role it would be able to play given U.S. sanctions on Iran.

  4:19 AM / January 10, 2020

CBS News sees crash site scrubbed of debris

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer was able Friday to briefly view the site in Tehran where the Ukrainian plane crashed two days earlier, before Iranian security officials compelled her team to leave. She said very little debris was left from the early Wednesday morning crash and there were people — not officials but apparent scavengers — poring over the scene looking for pieces to take away. 

palmer-iran-plane-crash-site.jpg CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports from the site where a Ukrainian passenger jet crashed down in flames in Tehran, Iran, on January 10, 2020, two days after the crash. CBS

Ukrainian investigators had not yet visited the site as of noon on Friday (3:30 a.m. Eastern).

Witnesses told Palmer they saw a truck and heavy equipment come on Thursday and take away most of the wreckage. Iran has not said where the wreckage was taken.

Palmer and her team said the crash site was large and they were only able to view one part of it, but after they visited the scene a witness told them larger pieces of the jet’s fuselage and nose had been removed. The witness said removal of both the wreckage and bodies of the victims began the day of the crash. 

See Palmer’s full report from Tehran on “CBS This Morning” at 7 a.m. Eastern.

  Updated 3:58 AM / January 10, 2020

Russia calls missile claims “groundless”

Russian lawmakers said Friday that claims of a missile hitting a Ukrainian jetliner over Iran were “groundless” and they accused the West of prematurely assigning blame to Tehran.  

Vladimir Dzhabarov, a lawmaker in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said Friday that “we need to be cautious with conclusions. Iranians have invited Ukraine to take part in the investigation. Why would they do it if they knew they had shot (the plane) down?”

Leonid Slutsky, a lawmaker with Russia’s lower house of parliament, echoed that sentiment and said conclusions about the cause of the crash could be politically motivated.

“Facts and solid evidence are needed, rather than vague references to intelligence findings. So far it has all been groundless,” Slutsky said.  

Associated Press

  Updated 3:35 AM / January 10, 2020

Ukrainian leader: “Missile theory” not “confirmed yet”

The Ukrainian president says he is not ruling out the possibility that the plane which crashed earlier this week in Iran had been hit a by a missile.

“The missile theory is not ruled out, but it has not been confirmed yet,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post Friday. All 176 people on board the plane bound for Ukraine died.

Zelensky reiterated his call for “all international partners” – the U.S., Britain and Canada in particular – to share data and evidence relevant to the crash.

He also announced plans to discuss the investigation with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday afternoon.

Associated Press

  Updated 7:18 AM / January 10, 2020

Iran invites U.S. transportation officials and Boeing to crash site

Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board has invited the National Transportation Safety Board and Boeing to the site of the plane crash.

In a statement, NTSB said it isn’t sure if it will accept the offer: “Due to sanctions and restrictions in place affecting participation by the NTSB and other U.S. organizations, the NTSB continues its coordination with the State Department, Treasury Department and Commerce to determine the best course of action as this investigation unfolds.”

“Close interagency coordination is of particular importance in this instance given the long-standing sanctions against Iran, which, among other things, prohibit the provision of technical data, lending of technical assistance and travel to Iran,” the NTSB said. 

Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told CBS News’ Pamela Falk on Thursday that his country was “ready to include others in the investigation.”

The Iranian envoy told CBS News that his country welcomed “the presence of the nationalities of the countries who were part of the people who were on board. If any country has any information, we would welcome the information to be investigated.”

Ravanchi added, “We have also welcomed any input that Boeing, as a company who has made this plane, to put forward and come to us and share with us anything that can facilitate the work of this investigation.”

  Updated 7:35 PM / January 9, 2020

Iran denies jet was shot down

Iran disputes Ukrainian jet was shot down

Iranian officials are denying that one of their missiles shot down the passenger jet. A spokesman for the armed forces called the allegations ridiculous and Ali Abedzadeh, the head of the Iranian Civilian Aviation Authority, said it’s not scientifically possible.

Within hours of the crash, the aviation authority pointed toward technical failure as the cause and said the plane was on fire as it tried to return to the airport minutes after takeoff. A website affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard called the U.S. intelligence a conspiracy cooked up by Iran’s enemies. 

Ukrainian investigators arrived at the crash site to participate but they have not yet been given access to the crash site.

The Iranians have said that they will not hand over the plane’s black boxes, but will work with the Ukrainians to download and analyze the data. They said if they need extra help, they may approach other countries and specifically mentioned France.

  Updated 7:33 PM / January 9, 2020

Canada officials will visit crash site in Iran

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced Thursday that it has been invited by Iran to visit the site of the plane crash. The group said it accepted the invitation and is making travel arrangements.

  Updated 7:33 PM / January 9, 2020

U.S. shares intelligence with “Five Eyes” alliance

The United States has shared intelligence suggesting Iran shot down the Ukranian Airlines plane with the “Five Eyes” alliance. That alliance is comprised of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. 

  Updated 7:59 PM / January 9, 2020

Brother of crash victim speaks out: “It’s been Hell”

Omidar Salani lost his sister, her husband and his 16-month-old niece in the crash. He told CBS News that it’s been “Hell” since the plane went down. 

“I hope this never happens to anybody. I [hope] nobody loses a sibling or family members and I hope nobody ever loses three members of their family in one incident and it’s — it’s very hard to deal with this,” he said. “It’s very hard to cope with it, especially at the beginning hours. Nothing makes sense, nothing — and there’s no answers and there’s no way of getting over it.” 

“She was a really good person, really good,” he added.

“Every moment, I say, ‘I’m gonna wake up. It’s a nightmare and it’s over. She’s home and I’m going to go knock on her door,'” Salani said.

UKRAINE-IRAN-CANADA-AVIATION-ACCIDENT Flight staffers place candles in front of a memorial for the victims at the Boryspil airport outside Kiev on January 8, 2020.  Getty

  Updated 7:33 PM / January 9, 2020

British PM Boris Johnson: “This may well have been unintentional”

Johnson issued the following statement on Thursday’s developments:

The loss of life on Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 is a tragedy and my thoughts are with all of those who lost loved ones. Four British nationals were among those who were killed, and we are providing support to their families at this most terrible time.

There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile. This may well have been unintentional. We are working closely with Canada and our international partners and there now needs to be a full, transparent investigation.

It is vital that there should be an immediate and respectful repatriation of those who’ve lost their lives to allow their families to grieve properly. The UK continues to call on all sides urgently to de-escalate to reduce tensions in the region.

  Updated 7:19 PM / January 9, 2020

Trudeau: Evidence indicates Iran shot down plane

Trudeau: Evidence indicates plane shot down by Iranian missile

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said intelligence from multiple sources, including Canadian intelligence, indicated that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. “This may well have been unintentional,” Trudeau told reporters during a press conference Thursday in Ottawa, the nation’s capital.

Of the 176 people killed in the crash, at least 63 were Canadians. Trudeau called for an in-depth investigation into the crash.

The plane was headed for Kiev. Trudeau said he spoke with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky about the crash.

Iranian authorities have said they want to keep the plane’s black boxes in Iran but told Zelensky that Ukrainian investigators will have access to them, Trudeau said. Asked about President Trump’s comment earlier Thursday that the plane was flying in a “rough neighborhood,” Trudeau said he would let Mr. Trump’s words stand for themselves.

  Updated 7:19 PM / January 9, 2020

Newly surfaced video appears to show moment of impact

U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down Ukranian plane

Newly surfaced video appears to show the moment of impact as the plane was gaining altitude, CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports. The video lines up with flight data that showed a normal takeoff until the plane reached an altitude of about 8,000 feet and suffered a sudden catastrophic event, Van Cleave reports.

  Updated 7:19 PM / January 9, 2020

Trump: “I had my suspicions”

President Trump was asked about the crash during an event at the White House on Thursday morning. “I had my suspicions,” the president said. “I don’t want to say that because other people have their suspicions also.”

“It’s a tragic thing when I see that,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s a tragic thing, but somebody could have made a mistake on the other side.”

“It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could have made a mistake,” the president said. “Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”

  Updated 7:19 PM / January 9, 2020

U.S. officials confident Iran shot down the jet

U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner in the hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets earlier this week, CBS News has learned. U.S. intelligence picked up signals of a radar being turned on, sources told CBS News. 

The sources said U.S. satellites detected two surface-to-air missile launches, which happened shortly before the plane exploded.

This article was originally published on this site.

This article was originally published on this site