President Zelenskiy: Leaked audio “proves that the Iranian side knew from the start that our plane had been hit by a missile.”
Iran knew all along that it had shot down the civilian airliner, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy revealed on Sunday.
The Ukrainians based their claims on the leaked recording of an Iranian pilot informing Tehran’s air traffic control about a missile hitting the Ukrainian plane.
On January 8, the Iranian military shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet shortly after it took off from Tehran International Airport. All 176 passengers and crew died in the missile attack.
The audio recording of the Iranian pilot who witnessed the explosion proved that the Iranian regime knew all along that its missile had hit the airliner.
“He says that ‘it seems to me that a missile is flying,’ he says it in both Persian and English, everything is fixed there,” President Zelenskiy said in a televised interview.
Tehran responded to the disclosure by refusing to share evidence from the airline crash with Ukraine.
“Iran has ceased co-operation with Ukraine in its investigation into the downing of Ukrainian passenger jet,” BBC reported on Monday. The Iranian response suggests that there is still more to the downing of the plane than the regime is willing to admit.
Reuters reported the revelations made by the Ukrainian president:
A leaked audio recording of an Iranian pilot talking to the control tower in Tehran shows that Iran knew immediately it had shot down a Ukrainian airliner last month, despite denying it for days, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
On the recording, played on a Ukrainian television station late on Sunday, the pilot of another plane can be heard saying he saw “the light of a missile” in the sky before Ukrainian International Airways flight 752 crashed in an explosion.
Tehran blamed the Ukrainian authorities for leaking what it described as confidential evidence, and said it would no longer share material with Ukraine from the investigation into the crash. (…)
The leaked audio “proves that the Iranian side knew from the start that our plane had been hit by a missile,” Zelenskiy said in a television interview.
“He says that ‘it seems to me that a missile is flying’, he says it in both Persian and English, everything is fixed there,” Zelenskiy said.
The recording raises more questions about the Iranian version of the incident. After blaming the crash on mechanical failure, Iranian authorities bulldozed the crash cite and cleared the debris in an apparent attempt to destroy the evidence. Tehran also refuses to hand over the flight data recorders, or black boxes, to the Ukrainians or a neutral third party.
Tehran initially dismissed the claims that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, calling them a “big lie” and “psychological warfare” by the United States. But confronted with undeniable evidence, the regime backtracked, blaming the shooting on “human error.” The Iranian admission of guilt was even more bizarre than its previous denials. The Iranian air defense had “mistaken” a Boeing 737 taking off from its airport for an incoming U.S. cruise missile, the regime claimed.
The downing of the plane took place days after a U.S. drone strike eliminated Qassem Soleimani, chief of Iran’s elite Quds Force, a U.S. designated terrorist group. He was behind the storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in late December and was directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of American servicemen and women in Iraq.
The regime paraded the coffin of the dead terrorist across Tehran. Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared jihad on America to avenge the slain terrorist. The shooting of the Ukranian airliner reignited anti-regime protests across the country. Tehran had barely managed to crush the November uprising by gunning down over a thousand unarmed protesters.
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