Plane crash: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Defends Military

Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday defended the country’s military after it admitted shooting down a passenger plane by mistake.

According to Ayatollah, who has the final say over all political affairs, the Revolutionary Guard, the elite unit responsible for the disaster are maintaining the security of Iran.

iDONSABI reported that there were widespread protests and criticism from abroad over the incident. This had put growing pressure on Iran over its handling of the incident.

READ: Ukraine Airline Crash: Iranian Protest, Calls for Resignation of Ayatollah

Trying to rally support as he led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time since 2012, Ayatollah called for “national unity,” adding that Iran’s “enemies,” indirectly referring to the US and its allies had used the ‘human error’ to overshadow the killing of senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

“The shameless US government was disgraced by calling Martyr Soleimani a terrorist when he was recognized by everyone as the most prominent & powerful commander in the fight against terrorism. Which other commanders could do the great things he did?

“The Zionist news empire tried to say the honorable General is a terrorist! The US’s President & Secretary of State repeated this. God did the opposite of what they wanted. Not only in Iran but various countries, people, saluted this Martyr & burnt the Zionist & US flags,” he added.

Recall that the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was traveling to Kyiv from Tehran on 8 January when it crashed shortly after take-off with all 176 passengers on board, including dozens of Iranians and Canadians killed.

Having denied responsibility initially, they admitted after international pressure mounted.

The 80-year-old supreme leader, who addressed the nation from the Mosalla mosque in the capital, described Iran’s elite Quds Force – which the US has designated a terrorist organisation – as a “humanitarian organisation with human values.”

Ministers from five nations that lost citizens in the crash had met in London yesterday. They demanded “full co-operation” from Iran in a transparent international inquiry.

READ: ‘All Is Well,’ Donald Trump Reacts to Iran’s Missiles Attack on US Bases in Iraq

The ministers from Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine also said Iran must pay compensation.

Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who spoke on behalf of the group, said the countries are ready to pursue closure, accountability, transparency, and justice for the victims.

“In the wake of such a horrific tragedy, there are many many questions. Families want answers, all of the countries assembled here today want answers, and the international community want answers. The world is waiting for those answers, and we will not rest until we get them.”

Mr. Champagne said all those responsible must be brought to justice.

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