Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said people in Iran took the streets in protest because they “were lied to” after the downing of Ukrainian Airline flight 752.
Speaking at foreign policy conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Zarif said neither he, nor President Hassan Rouhani, knew the details of what happened until two days after the commercial flight was shot down.
Zarif said, “last few nights we’ve had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days.”
After initially denying missiles took down the Ukrainian flight, Iranian Armed Forces General Staff admitted “the plane was accidentally hit by human error.” A statement said the plane “resembled a hostile target” and the “aircraft came close to a sensitive IRGC military center.”
All 176 passengers and crew were killed in the crash.
Rouhani tweeted on January 10 that the “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake.”
On Wednesday, Zarif acknowledged that Iranians were angry with the government’s delay in taking responsibility. “That is the expectation that people have with the government — that the government should have disclosed the information.”
However, he claimed the government did not know the cause of the crash until two days later, and that it shared information publicly soon after. “I, as Foreign Minister and the President, we didn’t know until Friday afternoon and we made sure that the people knew either Friday night or at least Saturday morning.”
Zarif also credited Iran’s military as “brave enough to claim responsibility early on.”