Iran Knew It Downed Ukraine Plane Killing 176 Passengers, Leaked Recordings Reveal

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The recordings reveal that the Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iran pilot knew of the missile attack by IRGC on January 8 that killed 176 passengers.

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Updated On:

A leaked recording has now divulged that Iranian authorities were instantly aware of downing a Ukrainian passenger flight after its takeoff from Tehran, which killed 176 people on board. The recordings reveal that the Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iran pilot knew of the missile attack by IRGC on January 8. Ukraine International Airlines flying from Tehran to Kyiv crashed minutes after its takeoff in Tehran.

The recording was released by Ukrainian media on February 2, which was then confirmed by their President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian President further asked Tehran to send the leaked recording for further probe. "They were aware of this at the moment of the shooting," Volodymyr Zelensky said. As per the leaked audio-recording, a conversation in Farsi between the air-traffic controller and pilot revealed that the latter saw "an explosion", a "very big light" and said that it is the "light of missile."

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The media leak was condemned by Tehran who called the move "unprofessional", further stating that it was part of the confidential report. "This action by the Ukrainians makes us not want to give them any more evidence," an Iranian official said. On Monday, as per international reports, Ukrainian investigators were to travel to Iran to decode the black boxes, however, Ukranian President Zelensky insisted on bringing them back to Kyiv, calling it "important." 

Iran on plane downing 

Despite the speculation, Tehran maintained its denial, even after the US and Canada PM Justin Trudeau's assertation. Now, Iran has refused to share further evidence from the investigation after the audio was leaked by the Ukrainian media. After the incident, Iran also backtracked from its promise last month to hand over the black box to Ukraine. 

The flight that was downed by IRGC, came after Iran launched a missile attack on Iraqi bases housing US military, in retaliation to the assassination of Gen Qasem Soleimani, the second most important person in Iran. Days after, Iran admitted to the downing of the plan, saying it was 'mistakenly shot down'.

"I have longed to die after hearing about the plane crash. I wish I had died and not witnessed such an accident. We have spent the rest of our lives purging people. Any decision made by leaders will be obeyed," Hajizadeh said. The commander explained that the incident occurred when Iran was bracing for potential strikes by its archfoe the United States. The “likelihood of conflict” between the two nations has been “unprecedented” since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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