After initial denials of responsibility, having been confronted with mounting evidence, Iran finally acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet earlier this week, killing all 176 people aboard.
Following the admission, Iranian protesters have demanded Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down. “Commander-in-chief [Khamenei] resign, resign,” chanted hundreds of people in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University on Saturday. Speaking from Tehran, Dorsa Jabbari told Al Jazeera, “There is a lot of anger. Iranians are demanding justice and accountability. Many people including families of the victims are in shock. They do not understand why their government would have lied to them for this long.”
There is also a lot of anger in Russia, but for an entirely different reason. Yuri Shvytkin, deputy head of the State Duma’s Defense Committee, criticized the position of the Iranian authorities, who admitted their responsibility for shooting down the Ukrainian airliner.
Shvytkin told Russian radio station Moscow Speaks that the Iranians should have blamed the United States for the incident. He said, “It was a missile strike provoked by the United States, that is, Iran’s retaliatory actions were unintentional. It’s necessary to condemn both the actions of the United States and the actions of Iran regarding the downed plane. Within the framework of the events that took place, in the turmoil due to insufficient professional actions and hasty decisions regarding the guidance and launch of a missile, it is theoretically possible to allow this.”
Russian senator Alexei Pushkov echoed the same position, stating: “The United States carry their part of the responsibility for this tragedy,” arguing that America creates conditions leading to wars all over the world. Pushkov also took a jab at Ukraine, claiming that whenever Ukraine calls Iran’s actions irresponsible, it should be reminded about not closing its airspace for the flight of the Malaysian Boeing MH17. The Russian senator disingenuously complained that Ukraine “is still not admitting its fault” for not closing the Ukrainian airspace, “which is the reason for the crash of the Malaysian Boeing.” Read more