Iran Says Their Missile Shot Down The Plane That Was Carrying 176 People By "Mistake"

The Iranian military admitted this after maintaining for days that there was no evidence to show one of its missiles had struck the Boeing 737-800 plane with 176 onboard.

Cover image via Ebrahim Noroozi/AP & Arash Khamooshi/The New York Times

Earlier today, 11 January, Iranian state TV carried a statement by the country's military blaming "human error" for "accidentally" and "unintentionally" shooting down the Boeing 737-800 passenger jet

According to the military statement read on Iran's state media, the passenger jet had flown close to a sensitive military centre of the Revolutionary Guard and was mistaken for a hostile target.

"The military was at its highest level of readiness," it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States. "In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit."

The wreckage from the downed plane.

Image via BBC

While apologising for the disaster, which killed all 176 onboard, Iran said their systems will be upgraded to prevent such future "mistakes"

The responsible parties would be referred to a judicial department within the military and will be held accountable, the statement said, as reported by The Guardian.

The statement by Iran's military comes after days of official denials from the country claiming that there was no evidence to show it was one of its missiles that struck the Boeing 737-800 plane.

Collecting bodies from the downed plane on Wednesday in Tehran.

Image via Arash Khamooshi/The New York Times

Following the military's statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to his Twitter account to offer his "apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations"

"A sad day," he wrote.

"Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations."

Among the victims, 82 of whom were Iranian and at least 63 of them were Canadians.

The flight, which was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members, was enroute to Kyiv, Ukraine.

This video, which has been verified by The New York Times, appears to show a missile fired from Iranian territory hitting the passenger jet

According to The New York Times, the video, which was published on Thursday, 9 January, "showed a small explosion as the plane flew above Parand, a city near the airport".

Initially, Iran said the plane "crashed due to technical problems":

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