Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday said that everyone responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane must be punished. Rouhani in a televised speech said that for the people of Iran it is very important that whoever responsible for the negligence at any level must be punished. After initially denying its involvement in the crash, Iran on January 11 admitted that it accidentally shot down the jetliner because of a human error.
The Iranian judiciary on Tuesday announced that they have already made arrests regarding the accidental shooting of a Ukranian commercial plane that resulted in the deaths of all 176 souls on board. A spokesperson of the Iranian Judiciary, Gholamhossein Esmaili told local media that intensive investigations into the plane crash had taken place and that 'some individuals' had already been arrested. The announcement comes amid continuing protests in Iran over the downing of the plane.
Protesters, mostly students took to streets on Saturday denouncing cleric rule in Iran and shouted slogans like "clerics get lost" and "Death to the dictator", directing their anger directly at Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian public anger was growing over the days as Iran repeatedly denied any role in the Ukrainian passenger plane crash. The anger turned into protests when Tehran accepted its military's role in the crash.
The downing of the plane came days after the United States killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike near Iraq's Baghdad airport. Iran responded by firing dozens of missiles on Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition forces. After the missile attacks, Iraq issued a statement where it said that the country was subjected to bombardment by 22 missiles, of which 17 fell on Ain al-Asad airbase, hosting US troops, while five on the city of Erbil that all fell on coalition headquarters. The attacks took place between 1:45 am and 2:45 am on January 8, 2020.