Ukrainian Deputy PM demands explanation from Iran over downed plane comments

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Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vadym Prystaiko demanded an “immediate explanation” from Iran on Monday about the controversial remarks of an Iranian lawmaker who praised the downing of a civilian Ukrainian airliner in January.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a Ukraine International Airlines jet on January 8, killing all 176 onboard.

Iran claimed for days the plane crashed due to a “technical failure,” before admitting to shooting down the plane “accidentally.”

The IRGC did “well” by downing the plane, lawmaker Hassan Norouzi, who is the spokesman for the parliament's legal and judicial committee, told an Iranian local daily on Sunday.

He added that contrary to official claims, no arrests have been made for the incident.

The judicial organization of the Iranian armed forces refuted Norouzi’s remarks that no arrests were made over the incident on Tuesday, and the head of the organization said a criminal case has been filed against Norouzi for “spreading lies” and “causing public concern.”

“We expect an immediate explanation from Iran on this deplorable statement. It shows full disrespect for human lives,” Prystaiko, who is currently the vice prime inister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration tweeted on Monday. At the time of the downing he was Ukraine's foreign minister.

“Dozens of families from Iran, Ukraine, Canada, Sweden, UK, and Afghanistan lost their loved ones in the attack against defenseless civilian aircraft,” he added in the same tweet.

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