Iran arrests over shooting down of Ukrainian plane

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   386

A handout photo made available by Iran’s Presidential Office shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivering a speech during a meeting with farmers, in Tehran, Iran, 14 January 2020. EFE/EPA/IRAN’S PRESIDENT OFFICE HANDOUT

Tehran – Iran has made several arrests linked to the shooting down of a Ukrainian plane last week which killed 176 civilians last week, the judiciary said Tuesday.

“Thorough investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested,” judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said in a press conference, adding no further details.

A Boeing 737 belonging to Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) bound for Kiev was shot down shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on 8 January when it was mistaken for a cruise missile, according to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The tragedy occurred amid a sharp escalation of tension between the United States and Iran.

Iran was expecting a retaliatory attack to its bombing hours earlier of a military base used by US troops in Iraq.

The downing of the plane, initially denied by the Iranian authorities, has caused a backlash among Iranians and has led in recent days to several protests against the country’s Islamic system.

Due to the magnitude and controversy of this case, Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said “a special court with a high-ranking judge and dozens of experts” would lead investigations into the error that caused the downing.

“This is not a normal case and the whole world will follow it in our court,” said the president. He added that a “single individual” could not be blamed for the tragedy.

In this regard, he said that the culprit is not only the person who pressed the button and fired the missile, according to a statement from the Iranian Presidency.

“The government will continue its efforts until all aspects of the incident are investigated and to ensure that those involved are punished and that these things will not happen again,” he said.

Rouhani blamed the US in his speech, which, he said, shifted the environment and made the situation abnormal.

He added that did not mean the root causes of the accident should not be addressed.

Some 167 passengers were traveling on the plane, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians, although the latter mostly with dual citizenship. The nine crew members were Ukrainian. EFE-EPA

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Iran fears second wave of coronavirus as death toll tops 2,000

UNTV News   •   March 26, 2020

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iran may face a second outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a government spokesman said on Wednesday (March 25), as the Islamic Republic banned internal travel and traditional gatherings in parks during the Persian New Year holiday period.

According to state TV, spokesman Ali Rabiei said people ignoring advice from health ministry officials travelled for the New Year holiday, which began on March 20, and could cause a second wave.

President Hassan Rouhani has banned any new trips between cities, Rabiei said, and warned of legal steps against people ignoring the ban.

The escalating outbreak in Iran has killed 2,077 people so far the health ministry said on Wednesday, with 143 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours.

At a meeting telecast live, Rouhani said more restrictions would be introduced to contain the coronavirus that has infected 27,017 people nationwide. The government has so far stopped short of imposing a lockdown on Iranian cities.

Authorities have called on Iranians to avoid public places and stay at home, while schools, universities, cultural and sports centres have been temporarily closed across the country.

Rouhani said the new measures would be implemented for 15 days until April 4, when under normal circumstances schools open in Iran after the New Year holidays. (Reuters)

(Production: Andrew Ragg/Jim Hatley)

Iran calls on people to stay home as virus death toll rises to 43

UNTV News   •   March 3, 2020

Deaths in Iran from coronavirus have hit 43, the highest number outside China, and the total number of infected people has risen to 593, an Iranian health official said on Saturday (February 29).

As several countries in the Middle East reported cases of the coronavirus stemming from Iran, the country is at the epicentre of the outbreak in the region.

Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned on Friday (February 28) of “a very difficult week” ahead in Iran, which only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on February 19 and where the death rate among confirmed cases has been around 10%, compared to around 3% elsewhere.

Coronavirus prevention posters have been placed across Tehran as many people are seen wearing protective face masks.

Tehran has ordered the shutting of schools until Tuesday (March 3) and the government has extended the closure of universities and a ban on concerts and sports events for a week.

Several high-ranking officials, including a vice minister, deputy health minister and five lawmakers, have tested positive for the coronavirus as outbreak forced Iran’s clerical rulers to close the parliament and impose internal travel bans.

One lawmaker, elected in Iran’s February 21 polls, had died of the coronavirus, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

Iran’s foreign ministry advised Iranians to avoid trips to South Korea, which reported 594 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, taking its tally to 2,931 cases.

Saudi Arabia is now the only Gulf Arab state not to have reported any cases of the coronavirus, which has infected about 80,000 people and killed more than 2,800, mostly in China. (WANA via Reuters Connect)

(Production: Tanya Lezaic)

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Iran says 43 infected with coronavirus, eight dead – official

UNTV News   •   February 24, 2020

REUTERS – Iran confirmed 15 new cases of the new coronavirus on Sunday (February 23), taking the total to 43 with a death toll of eight.

In Tehran and some other cities, schools have been shut until Tuesday (February 25).

Various sporting fixtures have been postponed due to the outbreak, including a football match between Sepahan and Persepolis that was due to be played at Naghsh-e Jahan Stadium on Sunday.

Eight of the new infections were in Qom, where authorities have closed schools and religious seminaries.

In other moves against the virus, Turkey and Armenia have closed their borders with Iran, suspending air and road travel to and from the country. Pakistan on Sunday closed its Taftan border with Iran but said that flights to and from Iran have not been suspended.

(Production: Marissa Davison)

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