Posted on Jan 12, 2020
European Union air safety regulator EASA has advised carriers to avoid all Iranian airspace, regardless of altitude, "until further notice" after Iran admitted that its armed forces "unintentionally" shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, killing all 176 people aboard.
Iranian officials who had initially denied responsibility for Wednesday's disaster, and having come under intense international scrutiny, admitted on Saturday it was caused by "human error".
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted on Saturday that the country "deeply regrets this disastrous mistake".
Iranian armed forces said in a statement posted by state media that the plane came close to a sensitive military site and appeared to be a "hostile target". They said they were on a high threat alert due to increased enemy air traffic in the region.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, said his unit accepted full responsibility for the shootdown.
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif blamed "human error at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism".
Flight PS752, which was bound for Kyiv, crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran only hours after Iran launched missiles at U.S. forces amidst a rising escalation between the two countries.
The missile strike was in response to the US killing of the head of Iran's elite Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that he expected Iran "to bring those responsible to justice, return the bodies, pay compensation and issue an official apology", and called for a "full, open investigation".
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