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By Sonia Harim
The Ukrainian plane that was shot down this 8th January 2020 just added more tension to an already heated situation.
This fatidic event occurred after the missile attacks between the US and Iran, after Qassem Soleimani’s murder by the order of Donald Trump. The escalation reached its peaks, and the world was expecting to get into another world war – but then, we heard Iran calling for retaliation, and other political forces asking Iran not to fall into the trap of the attacks and menaces.
When the tension seemed to be scaling down, an Ukrainian jet with 176 people on board was shot down in Iran, leaving no survivors. For 3 days, Iran denied the attack and did not want the black box to be investigated. Now it has been communicated that the aerospace forces of the government mistakenly identified the plane as an American missile.
The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accepted full responsibility for the incident, but still, just after the civil mourning for Qassem Soleimani, now it is hundreds of Iranians mourning and then protesting publicly asking for the resignation of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
As of the 14th January, the spokesman of Iran’s judiciary announced several arrests in regard to the plane crash, without revealing the identity of the detainees. It seems that both Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have made their efforts to find justice after the attack, setting up a special trial court for this case. Let’s not forget that the individuals who are guilty for this attack belong to the high rank Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a government entity.
According to official record, Iran’s president Rouhani did not know about the accident until two days later, which would mean that the IRGC kept information from the highest members of the government – which they would be held accountable for in the trial to come.
As per the big amount of demonstrators protesting the crash of the plane, things have been difficult: they have been attacked with gunshots and tear gas by the local police in Teheran, which has increased citizen rage towards the established government and the lack of sensitivity and accountability of its officials.
While evidence points at the US for beginning the new Iran-US crisis, this mistake by the Iranian government may play a significant role in Iran’s internal relations, and to the international and regional crisis as well, regardless of whether there may be a war or not. The fact that this incident shook the Supreme National Security Council and can even affect Ayatollah Khamenei – some have been asking him to resign – will certainly weaken Iran internally.
- Will Iran prosecute the members of the government involved?
- Will it keep on accusing, like some hard-liners, foreign forces for the influence of the accident?