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Iran: A year after IRGC downed a Ukrainian Airliner, no one is held accountable

Relatives and family members commemorate their loved ones who were on board on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.
Relatives and family members commemorate their loved ones who were on board on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, January 7, 2021—A year has passed since an IRGC surface-to-air missile brought down the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on January 8, 2020, minutes after the airplane took off from Tehran. The plane, which was supposed to make a stop at Kyiv, was bound for Canada, and aboard it were 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents of Canada, and 53 others who were on their way to Canada. Other passengers were from Iran, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, and the United Kingdom. After being hit by the missile, the plane crashed in a town west of the Iranian capital of Tehran, killing all 176 passengers and crew.

 

Regime officials and media tried to blame the crash on a technical malfunction in the plane’s engines. But when the evidence became undeniable, IRGC Aerospace chief Amir Ali Hajizadeh admitted that his forces had shot down the plane.

Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani tried to downplay the incident and stressed the plane was mistakenly targeted. “It was unclear in the beginning and we said the perpetrators of the incident just made some mistake and whatever it was they can face justice in a fair trial,” the state TV quoted Rouhani’s remarks. 

 

Deeply outraged by the regime’s handling the situation, people in many Iranian cities held protest rallies, condemning regime officials and calling for the mullahs to let go of the power.

 

Like many tragedies in Iran, the regime tries to downplay the facts and run away from accountability. The regime has left the international community in darkness. Still, after a year, details of this horrific event remain unknown to the families of the victims. The Iranian regime has not yet conducted any independent, objective, and transparent investigation to answer critical questions.

Who was the operator of the missile launcher? Who in the military chain of command carries ultimate responsibility for this disaster? The regime hypocritically described the event as a “horrific crash,” a “great tragedy” and an “unforgivable mistake.” Who assumes political responsibility for the destruction of PS752 and the deaths of 176 innocent people? Were any cellphones, cameras, or video recorders recovered at the crash site? Where are they now? What engineering analysis was done on the wreckage of the aircraft to determine whether it was damaged by one or two missiles? What was the extent of the damage done by each and where; and the extent of further damage done when the aircraft hit the ground? How and why was the decision taken to dither three days before acknowledging that had been shot down by the Iranian military?

 

On December 14, outrageous family members of the victims gathered at Tehran’s Military Court to protests the regime’s inactions. They questioned regime officials’ ignorance, and cover-up and blamed them for the disasters that led to the death of their loved ones.

 

The father of Maryam Malek, one of the victims criticized the judge, and fearlessly said “How can a bunch of criminals participate in this investigation? You are unable to cooperate for an investigation to clarify the facts.”

 

“My daughter would turn 31 today. Why took did you take her from me? We don’t want compensation, we just seek justice,” said the mother of another victim Evin Arsalani on her anniversary.

 

 

Rouhani’s government has agreed to pay $150,000 in  compensation, but Ukraine denied it by calling it a unilateral decision and emphasized the regime should clear up the facts first and prosecute the perpetrators.

 

The regime clearly fears international consequences for its criminal act. In the last 40 years, the regime has failed to investigate and prosecute a single one of its many crimes against humanity.

 

As an example, 32 years ago, the mullahs’ regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners in a matter of weeks based on a fatwa of the regime’s then supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Again, this crime was never investigated or clarified.

 

The regime also never investigated the killing of 1,500 innocent protesters during the November 2019 nationwide uprisings. The regime never even gave an exact account of the number of people killed, injured. Instead, it even prevented victims’ families to hold funerals for their loved ones.

 

During the last 40 years, the people of Iran have experienced the regime’s crimes and negligence. Therefore, the international community and countries involved like Canada and Ukraine must push for an international independent investigation for the tragedy of Flight 752.