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Iran arrests personnel responsible for Ukraine airliner downing, after Rouhani calls for justice

Rouhani called for punishment of those responsible for the plane crash [Iranian Presidency / Anadolu]

Date of publication: 14 January, 2020

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that everyone responsible for accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian plane over Tehran last week must face punishment as a judicial spokesman announced arrests.

Arrests have been made in Iran after accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner outside Tehran last week, members of the judiciary said on Tuesday.

Iranian judicial spokesman, Gholam Hossein Ismaili, announced that authorities had arrested suspects for their role in the shooting down of the plane, without specifying who or how many people had been arrested.

"Extensive investigations have been carried out and some people have been arrested,” he told a televised news conference.

The arrests come after Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that "everyone responsible" for the downing must be punished.

"For our people it is very important in this incident that anyone who was at fault or negligent at any level" face justice, he said in a televised speech.

"Anyone who should be punished must be punished," said Rouhani. The judiciary must form a special court with high-ranking judge and dozens of experts... The whole world will be watching."

The Ukraine International Airlines plane was brought down by a missile shortly after takeoff from Tehran last Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board.

Comment: Is this Iran’s Chernobyl moment?

Iran for days denied Western claims, based on US intelligence, that the airliner had been downed by a missile before acknowledging that version was correct on Saturday.

It has come under mounting international pressure to ensure its investigation into the tragedy is full and transparent.

The authorities' handling of the air disaster and has also angered people in Iran.

Videos posted on social networks on Monday purported to show people taking to the streets for a third consecutive day, with demonstrators apparently shouting slogans against the Iranian system of government and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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