Pentagon confirms Iran shot down Ukrainian airplane; PM Trudeau makes statement

Multiple sources have confirmed a Pentagon statement saying that it’s almost certain that Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane on Wednesday near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.

Initially, Iran had insisted that the plane crashed because of mechanical failures. However, those who observed the plane noted that it had started burning while still in the air, which is consistent with an incendiary device, not a mechanical failure.

Because the crash happened within four hours of the Iranian missile attack on Iraqi military bases housing American and other coalition troops, many immediately suspected that the crash was not an accident. The top guess was that someone in Iran’s air defense saw the passenger plane and, in light of the assault on U.S. forces, panicked that the plane was an American response and fired. The fact that the Iranians refused (and continue to refuse) to turn over the airplane black box only fed those suspicions.

On Thursday, the Pentagon went public with its analysis, which confirmed what most had suspected:

Officials said U.S. intelligence increasingly points at the airliner being accidentally struck by a Russian-made missile, killing all 176 people on board the flight, just hours after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting two military bases housing American and coalition troops.

"An absolute tragedy," one U.S. official told Fox News. "They just screwed up and it is tragic."

[snip]

The U.S. official told Fox News that a Russian-made SA15 missile, which is part of the Tor surface-to-air missile system, was the kind that brought down the aircraft. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1 systems to Iran in 2007 as part of a $700 million contract signed in December 2005. Iran has displayed the missiles in military parades as well.

The Iranians, however, continue to deny that they were responsible for downing the plane:

Iran's head of civil aviation was quoted by the ISNA News Agency as saying Thursday that "scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumors are illogical," according to Reuters. Iranian officials have blamed a technical malfunction for the aircraft’s doom.

Because at least 63 of the plane’s passengers were Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave an official statement:

The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families that are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy. We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence.

The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile. This may well have been unintentional.

This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter. Canada is working with its allies to assure that a thorough and credible investigation is conducted to determine the causes of this fatal crash. As I said yesterday, Canadians have questions and they deserve answers.

Last night foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke with Iranian foreign minister Zareef. Minister Champagne made it clear that Canadian officials must  immediately be granted access to Iran in order to provide consular services, identify the victims, and participate in a thorough investigation. He also condemned Iranian strikes that targeted military bases in Iraq where coalition forces, including Canadians, are currently stationed.

Minister Zareef committed to continuing this dialog with Canada as we seek answers. I spoke with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenksyy earlier today and conveyed my condolences to the many Ukrainians who perished in this tragedy. He assured me that Ukraine is taking all necessary measures to ensure a thorough investigation and we will work closely with Ukraine and our partners throughout this process.

I also called Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands. He shared with me his experience in handling the aftermath and investigation into Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

I also spoke to President Macron once again today who offered his assistance as we move through this difficult time. I am also in contact with a number of other international leaders and those discussions are ongoing. We will continue to work closely with our partners in the coming days and months.

In light of this new information, it is now more important than ever that we know exactly how such a tragedy could have happened. The family of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability, and justice. And this government will not rest until we get that.

Multiple sources have confirmed a Pentagon statement saying that it’s almost certain that Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane on Wednesday near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.

Initially, Iran had insisted that the plane crashed because of mechanical failures. However, those who observed the plane noted that it had started burning while still in the air, which is consistent with an incendiary device, not a mechanical failure.

Because the crash happened within four hours of the Iranian missile attack on Iraqi military bases housing American and other coalition troops, many immediately suspected that the crash was not an accident. The top guess was that someone in Iran’s air defense saw the passenger plane and, in light of the assault on U.S. forces, panicked that the plane was an American response and fired. The fact that the Iranians refused (and continue to refuse) to turn over the airplane black box only fed those suspicions.

On Thursday, the Pentagon went public with its analysis, which confirmed what most had suspected:

Officials said U.S. intelligence increasingly points at the airliner being accidentally struck by a Russian-made missile, killing all 176 people on board the flight, just hours after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting two military bases housing American and coalition troops.

"An absolute tragedy," one U.S. official told Fox News. "They just screwed up and it is tragic."

[snip]

The U.S. official told Fox News that a Russian-made SA15 missile, which is part of the Tor surface-to-air missile system, was the kind that brought down the aircraft. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1 systems to Iran in 2007 as part of a $700 million contract signed in December 2005. Iran has displayed the missiles in military parades as well.

The Iranians, however, continue to deny that they were responsible for downing the plane:

Iran's head of civil aviation was quoted by the ISNA News Agency as saying Thursday that "scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumors are illogical," according to Reuters. Iranian officials have blamed a technical malfunction for the aircraft’s doom.

Because at least 63 of the plane’s passengers were Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave an official statement:

The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families that are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy. We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence.

The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile. This may well have been unintentional.

This new information reinforces the need for a thorough investigation into this matter. Canada is working with its allies to assure that a thorough and credible investigation is conducted to determine the causes of this fatal crash. As I said yesterday, Canadians have questions and they deserve answers.

Last night foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne spoke with Iranian foreign minister Zareef. Minister Champagne made it clear that Canadian officials must  immediately be granted access to Iran in order to provide consular services, identify the victims, and participate in a thorough investigation. He also condemned Iranian strikes that targeted military bases in Iraq where coalition forces, including Canadians, are currently stationed.

Minister Zareef committed to continuing this dialog with Canada as we seek answers. I spoke with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenksyy earlier today and conveyed my condolences to the many Ukrainians who perished in this tragedy. He assured me that Ukraine is taking all necessary measures to ensure a thorough investigation and we will work closely with Ukraine and our partners throughout this process.

I also called Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands. He shared with me his experience in handling the aftermath and investigation into Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

I also spoke to President Macron once again today who offered his assistance as we move through this difficult time. I am also in contact with a number of other international leaders and those discussions are ongoing. We will continue to work closely with our partners in the coming days and months.

In light of this new information, it is now more important than ever that we know exactly how such a tragedy could have happened. The family of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability, and justice. And this government will not rest until we get that.