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Confirmation that an erroneous reading on an Iranian missile defense system led to the January 8 downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 and death of its 176 passengers and crew has resulted in increased skepticism of Tehran – but one expert tells Sputnik the Iranian government as a whole should not be held responsible.

Author, journalist and anti-war activist Mazda Majidi joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Monday to give his predictions on how Iran will proceed in the near future and provide his thoughts on why Tehran so adamantly denied initial reports that tied an Iranian cruise missile to the plane crash.

Majidi explained to hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that the “energy level shifted” and a sadness came over Iran following the government’s acknowledgement of an Iranian missile taking down the Ukrainian airliner.  

“Never in my life was I so ashamed. Perhaps we made a mistake that caused many of our compatriots to die. However, we did it unintentionally. We apologize,” Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami said during a speech before the Iranian Parliament over the weekend

Many Persian-language news sites also conveyed condolences expressed by other Iranian leaders, including Brig Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force. 

“After hearing the news in the country’s west, after implementing the military operation against American bases and when I made sure that this incident has happened, I wished I was dead,” he said during a press conference on Saturday, according to a translation by the Tehran Times

Following the revelation, five countries who had citizens aboard Flight 752 are expected to meet in London on Thursday to discuss legal action against Iran, according to a statement by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko

“This is the Iranian government’s responsibility,” he said. “We have to dig out who gave the order, who pushed the button. Everything, all these people should be punished.”

Iran’s admission of guilt came as a surprise to many, as Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi had requested that other governments “share information on this incident” following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s January 9 assertion that Iran was behind the airliner’s downing. Furthermore, Tehran had extended an open invitation for Boeing to take part in the investigation of the incident.

Majidi pointed out that it would not have made rational sense for the Iranian government to be so open to foreign assistance if there was indeed a concerted effort by Tehran to cover up evidence. 

“Right now what’s coming out seems to indicate that a very small circle of people within the [IRGC] might have known,” he said. At the same time, those involved in the incident were “quarantined,” and it’s unclear when information obtained from those individuals actually reached members of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s government, according to Majidi. 

“They were telling the truth as they knew it at the time,” he asserted, speaking of Tehran representatives’ repeated denials that an Iranian cruise missile was responsible.  

Now, Majidi explained, people are left wondering three things: who knew that an Iranian missile was responsible, why did they hide the information and who instructed the relevant individuals to not share the truth with other members of the Iranian government?

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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