Middle East

Iran makes arrests in downing of Ukrainian jet as Rouhani vows to punish those involved

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Irans judiciary said Tuesday arrests have been made over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed all 176 people on board just after takeoff from Tehran.

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The announcement came shortly after Irans president called for a special court to be set up to probe the downing last week of the plane by Iranian forces.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted by Iranian state media saying that “extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested. He did not say how many individuals have been detained or name them.

Iran, which initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the jetliner, acknowledged – three days after Wednesdays downing and in the face of mounting evidence – that its Revolutionary Guard had shot down the Ukrainian plane by mistake.

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“The judiciary should form a special court with a ranking judge and dozens of experts,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech televised in Iran on Tuesday. “This is not an ordinary case. The entire world will be watching this court.”

Rouhani called the incident “a painful and unforgivable” mistake and promised that his administration would pursue the case “by all means”.

“The responsibility falls on more than just one person,” he said, adding that those found culpable “should be punished”.

“There are others, too, and I want that this issue is expressed honestly,” he said, without elaborating.

Rouhani called the governments admission that Iranian forces shot down the plane the “first good step”.

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians – including many IraniansRead More – Source

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