Iran announces 10 indictments in downing of Ukrainian passenger plane

Iran on Tuesday announced indictments against 10 individuals it says were involved in the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January 2020.

Iran had been on high military alert at the time of the downing of the aircraft. Just days before Iran had launched missile attacks against targets in Iraq, including bases housing US personnel, in retaliation for the US assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. According to a report released by Iran’s civil aviation body, the shooting was the result of a misaligned radar and operator error.

The Canadian government, a number of whose citizens were on board the plane, expressed concern over “the lack of convincing information and evidence” in the report. “Without a comprehensive investigation,” it said, “the international community cannot be sure that what happened on the morning of January 8 in the skies over Tehran will not happen again.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Andriy Shevchenko, said regarding the indictments, “We have no clarity on who those people are and also we do not know what exactly they are accused of.” The ambassador suggested that Ukraine could take action in international court. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohsen Baharvand said on Wednesday that he had seen the ambassador’s remarks, and “we do not understand the reason behind some unconstructive opinions.” He asserted that Iran has discharged all its responsibilities under international law, and would not “bow to any pressure or threats.”