Iran arrests over shooting down of Ukrainian plane
UNTV News • January 14, 2020 • 239
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
The Philippine Navy ships, BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16), have arrived in Oman to help in the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the tensions in the Middle East.
The ships arrived at Sultan Qaboos Port late on Wednesday afternoon (February 5).
In a statement, Philippine envoy to Oman, Ambassador Narciso Castañeda said the navy contingent are “all safe and sound” upon arriving in Oman.
“The troops are very happy and in high spirits since this event serves as another milestone for our Navy that we can already transcend across the deep waters of Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea,” he said.
He also assured that the embarked sailors and marines “are ready to assist and support the government effort in repatriating our unsung heroes, the OFWs in this Middle East conflict.”—AAC
Washington,DC — Eleven United States soldiers were injured in the Jan. 8 Iranian bombing of a military base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a targeted strike, the US Central Command said in a statement Thursday.
Initially, the Pentagon had said that the attack had not caused any injuries but now, after re-evaluating the victims, it has identified some symptoms of possible concussions due to the force of the impact of the missiles.
“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Centcom spokesperson Bill Urban said in a statement.
“Out of an abundance of caution,” in the days following the attack, eight soldiers were transported from the Al Asad air base in western Iraq to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, while three others were sent to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait for follow-on screening, the official said.
“When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening,” he added.
After the attack on the air base, Iran warned that it was only the beginning of a series of retaliatory actions it would take to avenge the death of Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force and a highly respected figure in the Persian county, in a US targeted strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.
At the time, US President Donald Trump chose not to respond to the Iranian offensive with military force and said in a speech to the nation that he would impose more sanctions against Iran.
Those sanctions were directed against eight senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, as well as against the country’s steel, iron, aluminum and copper industry.
“The United States is targeting senior Iranian officials for their involvement and complicity in Tuesday’s ballistic missile strikes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said in a statement outlining the sanctions.
“We are also designating Iran’s largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining,” he added.
Tehran and Washington, which have had no diplomatic relations since 1979, have experienced multiple crises since Trump ordered the US’ exit from a landmark multilateral agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in 2018.
The current escalation of tension coincides with the downing of a Ukrainian aircraft by the Islamic Republic, which caused the death of all 176 people aboard. EFE-EPA
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in talks with Filipino officials on Tuesday (January 14) to assure the safety of Filipinos in Iran.
Philippine Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo C. Santos, arranged and facilitated talks between Presidential Adviser for Overseas Filipino Workers (PAOFW) Secretary Abdullah Mama-o and the Iranian Foreign Minister to discuss the safety of Filipinos amid the tension between the United States and Iran.
The talks also aims to “ensure their safe passage in the event of worsening tensions and armed confrontation.”
Meanwhile, the first batch of repatriated Filipinos from Iraq arrived on Wednesday (January 15).
“The first batch of Filipinos (11 adults and 2 children) have been successfully repatriated from Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq,” according to the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).—AAC
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