Iran blames “US psychological operation”
Iranian officials have rejected the western intelligence assessments.
“Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumours are illogical,” said Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s of Civil Aviation Organisation.
A spokesman for the Iranian government, Ali Rabiei, went on in a statement today to blame what he described as a “US psychological operation.”
Iran’s Press TV quotes him as saying:
“It is unfortunate that the psychological operation of the US government, and those supporting it knowingly and unknowingly, are adding insult to the injury of the bereaved families and victimising them for certain goals by propagating such fallacies,” the senior Iranian official pointed out.
Meanwhile, a new video has emerged which appears to show the moment a Ukrainian passenger jet was shot down in Iran.
Originally obtained by the New York Times, the phone footage shows a tiny spec suddenly exploding.
The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has vowed to find answers over crash that killed 176 people, including 63 Canadians, and has also cited intelligence reports casting the incident in a new light.
“We have intelligence, including from our allies and own intelligence that the plane was shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missiles,” Trudeau said.
“Canadians want answers. That means transparency, accountability and justice.”
Western agencies are understood to have picked up signals of the missile launches followed by the traces of an explosion.
A British source told the Guardian: “The assessment is that it looks like it is a tragic accident.”
In a statement on Thursday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional. We are working closely with Canada and our international partners and there now needs to be a full, transparent investigation.”
Submit data and evidence on crash cause, Ukraine tells US
Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s live blog coverage of the terrible loss of life after a Ukrainian passenger aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran – and the new development in the form of claims by western security officials that it was accidentally shot down by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile.
Intelligence have sources told the Guardian their assessments suggest two surface-to-air missiles had targeted the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 that went down in Iran on Wednesday morning, killing all 176 people onboard.
Iran was inviting experts from Boeing, the jetliner’s manufacturer, to join the investigation into the crash, the Iranian official news agency IRNA said on Friday, while the US National Transportation Safety Board said it had received “formal notification” of the crash from Iran and had designated a representative to the crash inquiry.
On Friday morning the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on “international partners” to share any information they had on the crash.
Zelenskiy also said he would discuss the investigation with U secretary of state Mike Pompeo later on Friday.
“The version about a missile hitting a plane is not ruled out, but it has not been confirmed yet,” Zelenskiy said on Facebook. “Given the recent statements by the leaders of the states in the media, we call on all international partners – notably the governments of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom – to submit data and evidence concerning the disaster to the commission which investigates the causes.”
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