The truth about the crash of a Ukrainian plane in Iran was hidden from the president: how is this possible
The crash of the plane "International Ukrainian Airlines" near Tehran blew up the Iranian elite from the inside, writes the New York Times. As follows from the newspaper’s investigation, we could never know the truth about the crashed Boeing, writes with the BBC.
According to sources in the New York Times, the military on the day of the disaster decided not to tell President Hassan Rowhan what had happened.
The commanders-in-chief of the military departments, both the Guardian Corps of the Islamic Revolution and the army, knew that the Ukraine International Airlines plane mistakenly shot down air defense missiles by the evening of the disaster. President Rouhani, like absolutely all civilian officials and politicians in the country, found out about this only on the morning of January 10.
The decision not to talk about the true cause of the disaster as a civil one was made out of fears that society would not withstand shocks, a newspaper source said.
“They were in favor of hiding everything, because they believed that the country could not stand another crisis. Ultimately, our duty is to protect the Islamic Republic at all costs, ”an anonymous employee of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tells the New York Times.
As a result, the next day, officials, politicians and the media continued to say that the airliner crashed due to technical problems, calling the Iranian air defense error version a psychological attack by the United States and urging the media not to spread rumors.
Did not pick up
In parallel, foreign media began to bring to the Iranians the version that the liner was still shot down, and in the end it turned out to be true.
Two versions existed in the information space in parallel, which raised questions not only among ordinary Iranians, but also among the authorities, right up to the president. On January 9, Rouhani tried several times to contact the IRGC command to find out what happened, but they did not pick up the phone at that end.
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Government officials called friends from the command and asked "informally" to tell them what happened, but they were answered only one thing - no missiles were fired.
This was officially confirmed by a spokesman for the government of Ali Rabi. “The president and the government participated in spreading lies about the death of the plane only because they themselves did not know the truth,” he said at a press conference shortly after the military nevertheless admitted that they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian plane.
When Rowhan was finally informed, he was furious, NYT sources say. The president demanded to urgently tell about the whole public, but the military resisted.
Rouhani threatened to resign, which was immediately reported to the spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He in response ordered to prepare a text of the public appeal with recognition. If not for this decision, there would have been no recognition at all.
"Sometimes they do it."
This has happened before. The actions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, have repeatedly come into conflict with what officials say and do, even at the international level.
Theoretically, the IRGC could start a full-fledged war without informing the president about it. Guardians are required to report only to the supreme leader of Iran.
In practice, it often turns out that the government and the president are forced to justify all the actions of the IRGC.
“We already had this when, in the midst of negotiations on a nuclear deal, the IRGC launched a rocket that read“ death to Israel, the USA and Saudi Arabia ”. The president and the executive were not informed about this, but the ayatollah seemed to know everything, ”says Taran Stone.
The case that Stone is talking about happened in October 2018. Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, which culminated in an agreement with six countries (USA, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany), aimed at limiting the Iranian nuclear program.
Launching a rocket with the wish of death to the main negotiating partner could lead to an aggravation and disruption of the deal.
“Sometimes they do it. It’s not the first time they have made independent decisions without informing the government, and they shouldn’t do this if they don’t want to, ”says Stone.
In this situation, civil servants, on whom the world assigns part of the responsibility for the actions of the IRGC, are often forced to show ingenuity.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, for example, in response to a question about missiles with the inscription “death to Israel” in 2018, began to deny that in Iran someone threatened the Jewish state with destruction.
“When did we say that we were going to destroy Israel? Bring me at least one person who said so. No one said such words, "- he said.
"Save the facade"
At the international level, the Iranian government has to justify the actions of the IRGC or even partially take responsibility for them.
At the domestic political level, an autonomous state in a state that has not only the right to use violence within the law, but also many economic assets, also gives officials a headache.
But despite the obvious conflict between civil and clerical-military power in Iran, it is very important for both for them to maintain the appearance of unity in front of the rest of the world. There are many examples of such manifestations of solidarity.
For example, when the United States recognized the IRGC as a terrorist organization, Iranian parliament members came to work in military uniforms in solidarity.
After the assassination of the head of one of the IRGC’s divisions, Kassem Sulejmani, in Iraq, civil servants showed unprecedented grief, and President Rouhani himself said that “America’s dirty hands clinging to the region” must be cut off.
“This is an impression of unity today for the Iranian authorities above all,” says Stone. - If the conflict between them becomes obvious, it will harm the entire ruling establishment. Therefore, at least in public it is very important for them to maintain this facade. ”
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- Boeing-737 "Ukraine International Airlines" crashed January 8, a few minutes after departure from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board died - 167 passengers and nine crew members.
- Crashed near Tehran (Iran), Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) before the fall, made a U-turn and tried to return to the departure airport, the Iranian Civil Aviation Administration said in a preliminary report.
- The crash occurred against the backdrop of a difficult political situation. Same day earlier Iran fired rockets at military bases in Iraqwhere were the US military. This was done in response to killing by Americans of high-ranking Iranian commander Kassem Suleimani a few days before.
- On January 9, a Ukrainian official stated that the country sees Russia's missile strike as one of several possible reasons crash of the Ukrainian passenger plane.
- As stated in a statement by the Iranian General Staff, a few hours after Iran’s missile attacks on US military bases, the number of flights of US military aircraft increased significantly, and "this circumstance caused increased sensitivity among the air defense units."
- US President Donald Trump said that doubts that the Ukrainian Boeing 737 crashed in Iran crashed due to technical problems. He was supported by the prime ministers of Canada and the United Kingdom. However, until saturday Iran these charges rejected and insisted that the most likely cause of the disaster was a technical malfunction.
- Iranian authorities said that Boeing of Ukraine International Airlines flew close to the war zone and was unintentionally shot down. The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said the air defense system operator mistook the plane for a cruise missile and shot it down, failing to contact the command.
- Life stories of Ukrainians who died in a plane crash in Iran, read in our material.
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