Iran announces arrests over its downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176

Iran on Tuesday announced that it made arrests of “some individuals” in connection with its Revolutionary Guard Corp’s downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176. 

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said the arrests took place after extensive investigations, state media reported. Esmaili gave no further details.

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The announcement came after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called for a special court to be set up to probe the downing of commercial jet just after takeoff from Tehran.

Authorities in Iran initially dismissed allegations that one of the country’s missiles had brought down the jetliner, but it was forced into an admission in the face of mounting evidence. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corp said it shot down the Ukrainian plane by mistake as it was bracing for possible U.S. retaliation for a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. No one was hurt in that attack. 

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Ukraine International Flight 752 was en route to Ukraine’s Kyiv when it was brought down by an antiaircraft missile on Jan. 8. The airliner was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians – including many Iranians with dual citizenship – and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. There were several children among the passengers, including an infant.

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