Iran denies Ukrainian plane was hit by missile

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The possibility that the Ukrainian plane was hit by a missile killing 176 people on board is not technically possible, said the head of Iran’s civil aviation organization, Ali Abedzadeh Friday, according to Iran’s official IRNA agency.

“The Ukrainian aircraft was on fire for more than one minute,” IRNA reported Abedzadeh as saying. “If it had been hit by a missile, it would have exploded immediately.”

He also said the pilot of the downed airplane had asked to return to the airport before it crashed.

There have been talks with Ukrainian experts to analyze the black box in Iran, however, Abedzadeh said during a press conference Friday that the black box may have been technically faulty.

He also said if Iran can’t analyze it, then the black box will be sent to Russia or Canada.

Thursday, three sources told Newsweek the flight was hit by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile system.

According to Newsweek’s report, the airplane is said to have been struck by a Russian-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system killing all 176 people on board, according to a Pentagon official, a senior US intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official.

The three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Newsweek that their assessment of the crash so far has proven that the incident might have been accidental.

Abedzadeh said during the press conference that the international statements on the cause of the crash are political, not technical.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that the possibility a missile downed the plane had not been ruled out but it had not been confirmed yet.

Abedzadeh said it could take up to two years to receive the final results of the investigations.

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