Iran’s president has said the downing of a plane in Tehran is an “unforgivable error” – and all those involved will be punished.
In a televised speech on Tuesday, Hassan Rouhani added that the “tragic event” would be investigated thoroughly, claiming “one person cannot be solely responsible for the crash”.
He added: “Iranian armed forces admitting their mistake is a good first step.
“We should assure people that it will not happen again” – but said his government was “accountable to Iranian and other nations who lost lives”.
Iran’s judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, has said some people have been arrested for their role in the incident – but he did not give any further details.
Ukrainian Prime Minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk, said there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on the Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev.
Initially, Iranian state television said flight PS 752 came down due to what it described as “technical problems” after leaving Imam Khomeini airport.
But after Iran admitted it had “unintentionally” shot down the plane, protesters took to the streets to denounce the country’s clerical rulers – and riot police were deployed to face them in a third day of demonstrations on Monday.
Britain’s ambassador to Iran was arrested during the demonstrations.
Rob Macaire was detained on suspicion of organising, provoking and directing radical actions – something he denied – and he was released after more than an hour in custody.
Iran’s ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, was subsequently summoned to the Foreign Office on Monday following the “unacceptable” treatment of Mr Macaire – enabling ministers to convey their “strong objections”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called Mr Macaire’s arrest a “flagrant violation of international norms”.
“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment.
“It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to de-escalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards,” he said.
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