Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 4, 2020—A new audio recording of conversations between a pilot and a control tower in Tehran proves that the Iranian regime immediately knew that the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed on January 8 was in fact shot down by the military.
In the recording which was published earlier this week after being aired by a Ukrainian television, the pilot of another flight is reporting the sighting of what seems to be “missile lights” to the control tower moments before the Ukrainian International Airways flight 752 crashed in an explosion.
All 176 passengers of the plane were killed in the incident. Following the crash, Iranian officials denied the involvement of the military and claimed that the plane had crashed due to a technical failure in the engine. But after three days of denial, under immense international pressure and after the release of a string of undeniable evidence, senior Iranian officials admitted that the Revolutionary Guards had shot down the plane, fearing that it was a retaliatory strike by the United States following a missile attack by the regime against the al-Assad airbase in Iraq.
The admission caused a wave of outrage across Iran and resulted in four days of students protests in several Iranian cities, in which the demonstrators called for the resignation of Ali Khamenei, the regime’s highest authority.
Ukraine has suspended all flights over Iranian airspace after the incident.
The leaked audio “proves that the Iranian side knew from the start that our plane had been hit by a missile,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a television interview.
“He says that ‘it seems to me that a missile is flying’, he says it in both Persian and English, everything is fixed there,” Zelenskiy said.
The Iranian regime was outraged by the release of new evidence by Ukraine. Iranian officials declared they would end their cooperation with Ukraine in investigations over the incident.
Ukraine International Airways said in a statement the recording provided “yet more proof that the UIA airplane was shot down with a missile, and there were no restrictions or warnings from dispatchers of any risk to flights of civilian aircraft in the vicinity of the airport.”
A string of lies and denials
After the downing of the aircraft, IRGC authorities, the Civil Aviation Chief, the Minister of Roads and Urban Development, and spokesman for regime president Hassan Rouhani had claimed that the crash had been due to a mechanical failure.
"The disclosure of the audio makes it clear that the control tower, and by extension the regime’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), had been immediately informed of the shooting down of the Ukrainian passenger jet," the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) stipulated in a statement. The CAO is an agency of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, which means the government of Rouhani was immediately notified about the nature of the incident.
Moreover, on January 11, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, said that immediately after the downing of the plane, he had informed senior officials that the plane had been shot down by the friendly fire. This means Khamenei had been informed of the incident shortly thereafter.
The NCRI statement reminded, "But [Rouhani] waited 72 hours before admitting this horrific crime. His spokesman, a former deputy intelligence minister, Ali Rabiee, falsely claimed that the government was told of the cause of the crash on the afternoon of January 10, 2020."
In a statement on January 11, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called the downing of the Ukrainian airplane “another major crime by the religious fascism ruling Iran, which the people of Iran will neither forgive, nor forget.”
“In a stark mark of culpable negligence, [the regime] refrained from ordering the cancellation of all commercial flights, whereas all around the world, such flights are canceled immediately at times of military conflict and air defense alert,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
Mrs. Rajavi said Khamenei, Rouhani and the IRGC commanders were the main culprits and must be prosecuted and punished for this great crime. She underscored that even now the regime is deceptively trying to help the main culprits in this disaster evade responsibility by making ridiculous excuses.
The transcript of the audio recording follows:
Tower: Good morning, Ukraine International Airlines 752 (inaudible), departure identified alt 260, climb to 6000 feet, turn right to Paroch.
Tower: After 6000 feet to Paroch.
Pilot EP3768: We are approaching from the north, 3768.
Tower: Good morning, 3768.
Tower: Aseman 3768 (inaudible), identify 3343 left, level 110.
Pilot EP3768: Flight 3768, come in.
Pilot EP3768: Approach of Aseman 3768.
Pilot EP3768: No, sir?
Pilot EP3768: Zone 320, active for passage?
Tower: GPS (inaudible).
Pilot EP3768: Flares on route, as if from a missile. Should anything like this be happening there?
Tower: Zone 320? How many miles away? Where?
EP3768 Pilot: Can't say for sure. But I think it is near (air field) Payam, (city) Karaj.
Tower: How many miles? Where?
Pilot EP3768: I now see the light as it flies off of there.
Tower: We were not informed of this.
Tower: How does it look like? What does this light look like?
Pilot EP3768: That surely is the light from a missile.
Tower: It's not flying toward east, is it?
Pilot EP3768: It might be… Oh, no it was launched from there or something like that
Tower: We were informed nothing, but keep watching.
Pilot EP3768: Okay. I'm getting on the landing course.
Tower: "Ukraine International Airlines" 752, do you read?
Tower: "Ukraine International Airlines" 752, do you read?
Tower: "Ukraine International Airlines" 752, do you read?!
(message repeated several times from 02:27 to 04:25, unanswered)
Tower: "Aseman" 3768, 9000 (inaudible), landing course.
Tower: "Aseman" 3768, do you see nothing else up there?
Pilot EP3768: Dear engineer, we saw an explosion, a big flare from the explosion, we don't understand what it is.
Tower: Do you know what was that exactly?
Tower: We don't know for sure...
Pilot EP3768: Is our course normal?
Tower: Yes, I don't think there will be any problem for you.
Pilot EP3768: God willing.