Brigadier Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Ground Force, said on Saturday that the guards thought that the Ukrainian plane that was shot down by Iran was a cruise missile, saying that he bore full responsibility for what happened.
176 people on board a Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 were killed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport.
“We bear all responsibility for the crash of the Ukrainian plane, and are ready for any punishment and any decision taken by officials in this regard,” Haji Zadeh said, in comments broadcast on state television and published by the Mehr News Agency. “I wished for death, I wish I would have died and I have not heard of such news,” the agency added, quoting him.
“It was a short-range missile that exploded near the plane. So the plane was able to continue flying for a short time,” he said, adding that it “exploded when it hit the ground.”
He said that the decision to launch the missile came after warnings about a cruise missile attack, and the system administrator had only ten seconds to make the decision, and he was unable to contact the leadership due to a problem in the communications network, and this led to that the person responsible for the air system made a mistake in launching the missile at The Plane.
“We asked to stop flying during the attack on Ain al-Assad base, but this was not done for some reasons,” he added.