Arrests have been made in connection with the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran, Iran’s judiciary has announced, following President Hassan Rouhani’s call for a special probe into the deadly accident.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told Iranian state media on Tuesday that individuals had been detained as part of “extensive investigations” into the incident. He did not disclose how many people had been arrested.
Earlier, Rouhani said in a speech that a special court should be established to try the case. He noted that “the entire the world will be watching this court” and vowed that responsible parties would be brought to justice.
Iran’s president also called the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) admission that it shot down the plane a “first good step” towards ensuring the matter is properly dealt with.
Tehran admitted that Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was mistaken for a projectile and shot down near the Imam Khomeini airport, killing all 176 people on board.
The head of the IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami, expressed his deepest condolences for the accident, stating that he had never felt more ashamed and wished that he had been on the plane.
Iran’s military claims that it never sought to cover up its mistake and had immediately informed authorities about the incident, but that this information was withheld from the public pending further investigation into the matter.