A U.S. official said that the Pentagon has a “high level of confidence” that Iran shot down the Ukrainian plane after takeoff in Tehran on Wednesday:

Investigators are trying to determine what downed the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Wednesday. The probe is expected to be particularly thorny, with heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran over the killing of a top Iranian general likely to complicate international cooperation.

Iranian officials, quoted by the state news agency, said the plane had suffered a technical fault, that it had started to turn back in the direction of Tehran airport and was already on fire before it hit the ground. They said the jet had reached 8,000 feet before disappearing from radar.

Olesky Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, explained that “a missile, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main (theories), as information has surfaced on the internet about elements of a missile being found near the site of the crash.”

Danilov did not provide more details or who gave him the information.

Russia makes the Tor missile system. The country gave Iran 29 Tor-M1s “in 2007 as part of a $700 million contract signed in December 2005.”

The plane crashed 30 miles northwest of Tehran just a few hours after Iran attacked two Iraqi military bases that house the U.S. military.

The crash killed all 176 people on board.

People became suspicious over the crash when Iran announced it would not hand over the plane’s black boxes.

Boeing added more doubt to the initial reports by stating “the plane was relatively new, in good condition, and had an experienced crew.”


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