Amateur videos and security footage released days after the devastating crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 proved that the passenger jet was deliberately shot down, killing all 176 people on board the flight.
In a video posted online by Youtube channel The Sun, two succeeding missiles hit the passenger plane while at an altitude of 8000 feet barely three minutes after it took off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran around 6:00 am of January 8.
Another amateur video showed the missile-hit plane, then flying northwest, managed to turn around in the direction of the airport and crashed at an empty soccer field outside Tehran.
Iran’s aviation agency has been blaming engine failure for Ukraine’s Boeing 737-800 while refusing to turn over to investigating authorities the plane’s black box until the first video of Iran’s missile attacking the passenger jet came out.
An Iranian military general later claimed responsibility to the shooting down of the plane following three days of denial saying a panicky defense system operator mistook the plane for a cruise missile in the midst of heightened tension between Iran and the United States.
Four hours before this devastating incident, Iran launched ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq in retaliation to the US government’s assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. At this point, Iranian defense systems were on high alert for possible US attacks.
As Iran admits responsibility to the downing of UIA Flight 752, this triggered heated demonstrations from the country’s own people who said their government is a liar, accusing Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei as incompetent and must step down.
Demonstrators, however, were injured, arrested or killed as the Iranian government imposed crackdowns of anti-government protests.
Of the 176 people killed in the plane crash, 82 are Iranian nationals who were mostly travelling via connecting flight to Kyiv, Ukraine and Canada after visiting their relatives in Iran for the holidays.