After a series of tweets by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani accepting blame for 'unintentionally' shooting down the Ukrainian jetliner, the Iranian government has also released a lengthy statement calling the incident a 'terrible catastrophe.' The Iranian President in his statement has said that this 'disastrous mistake' happened in an 'atmosphere of threat' that was created by the 'aggressive' American regime. However, he also stated that this is something that cannot be 'overlooked' and the perpetrators of this incident would be 'prosecuted.'
In his statement, Rouhani starts by addressing the "Noble people of Iran." He says, "With the utmost regret and sorrow, hours ago I was informed of the outcome of the General Staff of the Armed Forces’ investigation into the Ukrainian passenger plane crash."
"In the atmosphere of threats and intimidation by the aggressive American regime against the Iranian nation after the martyrdom of General Qassem Soleimani, and in order to defend ourselves against possible attacks by the American Army, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran were on full alert, which unfortunately led to this terrible catastrophe taking the lives of dozens of innocent people because of human error and mistaken shooting."
He also, however, states that Iran 'sympathizes' with the families of those killed and extends condolences to them. "The Islamic Republic of Iran is deeply sorry for this disastrous mistake, and I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic incident on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran and instruct all related organs to take all necessary measures to compensate and sympathize with the bereaved families," the statement reads.
The President further in the statement says, "I also express my deep condolences and sympathy of the Iranian government to the nations, governments, and families of non-Iranian victims. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be in full consular cooperation to identify and return the bodies of victims to their families."
Finally, the Iranian President states that this 'painful accident' is not something that would be 'easily overlooked' and that 'further investigation' is needed to identify all the causes and roots of this incident in order to 'prosecute the perpetrators' of this unforgivable mistake.
"It is also necessary to adopt the required arrangements and measures to address the weaknesses of the country's defence systems to make sure such a disaster is never repeated. Again, I extend my condolences to the families of the victims of this painful accident, praying for those who lost their lives and wishing their bereaved families patience and rewards," the statement said.
A Ukrainian aircraft with at least 176 people aboard crashed on January 8. All 176 passengers on board the PS752 airliner had died. This came amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran hours after Iran had launched a series of 16 ballistic missiles at the US base in Iraq housing US and British troops.