Iran’s civil aviation body has blamed an error by an air defence operator in a final report on the cause of a Ukrainian passenger plane crash in January 2020 that killed all 176 people aboard, the agency said on Wednesday.
“The plane was identified as a hostile target due to a mistake by the air defence operator...near Tehran and two missiles were fired at it,” the report said in its summary, published on the agency’s website.
“The flight’s operation did not have a role in creating the error by the air defence battery,” the report added.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight with ground-to-air missiles on Jan. 8, 2020 shortly after it took off from Tehran.
The Iranian government later declared that the shooting down was a “disastrous mistake” by forces who were on high alert during a regional confrontation with the United States.
Iran was on edge about possible attacks after it fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US forces in retaliation for the killing days before of its most powerful military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a US missile strike at Baghdad airport.