Iran’s judiciary on Tuesday said around 30 people had been arrested for their role in the crash of a Ukrainian plane on January 8, AFP reported. Iran had earlier admitted that it had unintentionally brought the aircraft down with a missile near Tehran. The crash killed all 176 people on board.
“Extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested,” said judiciary’s spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili. However, he did not identify the suspects or reveal exactly how many people had been arrested.
Esmaili’s announcement came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the judiciary should form a special court to investigate the plane crash, the country’s official ISNA news agency reported. “The judiciary should hold a special court with a high-ranking judge and dozens of experts,” Rouhani said. “This is not a normal case and the whole world will follow the case in our court.”
Rouhani called the incident “a painful and unforgivable” mistake. He said that the responsibility falls on more than one person, and added that those responsible for the crash should be punished.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had on January 11 demanded punishment for those responsible for the crash. Iran had attributed the crash to “human error” during an apparent retaliation to the assassination of a top military general by the United States.
The crash killed 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians. The Ukrainian International Airlines aircraft crashed on the outskirts of Tehran soon after Iran had bombed two airbases in Iraq used by United States military forces.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said that closure and accountability were needed after Iran’s admission. He demanded “transparency and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims”.