Iran had a story, and it stuck to it for a couple of days: There was a mechanical failure that brought down Ukrainian civilian airliner Flight PS752 that had just taken off from Tehran airport. Iran refused to hand over the black boxes and bulldozed the debris field to make it more difficult for outsiders to investigate.

The Mullah regime said the claim an Iranian anti-aircraft missile brought down the airplane was CIA disinformation.

As the intelligence information mounted, and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the evidence pointed to an Iranian missile, Iran finally admitted that it fired an anti-aircraft missile by mistake and that brought down the airplane.

But the Iranian explanation still has plenty of holes in it. The explanation is that a junior officer fired the missile because he thougth the ascending airplane was an incoming cruise missile, and he had only 10 seconds to decide:

In his press conference, Amir Ali Hajizadeh commander of Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, claims the Iran air defense operators had only 10 seconds to decide to shoot at what might be a cruise missile and his communications were jammed

The operator fired, Iran claimed, when the plane turned sharply towards a restricted and sensitive military area:

A military statement carried by state media said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military centre” of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” it said, amid the heightened tensions with the United States.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander said his unit accepts “full responsibility” for what happened. In an address broadcast by state TV on Saturday, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that when he learned about the downing of the plane, “I wished I were dead.”

“In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military statement said. It apologized for the disaster and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future. It also said those responsible for the strike on the plane would be prosecuted.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp. is blaming others within Iran:

Hajizadeh says decision to not cancel civilian flights on 8 January did not lie with the IRGC. “From my point of view, when we face conditions of war, the relevant authorities had to take that measure.”

This story makes little sense. Yes, there’s little doubt that an Iranian missile brought down the plane, but in order to believe the explanation behind it you’d have to believe:

  1. The Iranian military and radar tracking didn’t know that airplanes still were taking off from the airport
  2. The Iranian military and radar tracking are so unsophisticated they can’t distinguish between a large airliner climbing on takeoff from an incoming cruise missile
  3. The airplane was not tracked until 10 seconds before firing, even though it was a large and relatively slow moving object that had just taken off from the airport.

I’m not buying it. They are hiding something. But what? I’m guessing that more senior officers were involved, and that it was not operator error.


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