Iran has confirmed two missiles were fired at a Ukrainian airliner mistakenly brought down earlier this month amid heightened tensions with the United States.
The country’s civil aviation authority said it has yet to receive a positive response after requesting technical assistance from France and the US to decode black boxes from the plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.
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“Investigators … discovered that two Tor-M1 missiles… were fired at the aircraft,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said in a preliminary report posted on its website late on Monday.
However, the report said “the impact of these missiles on the accident and the analysis of this action is under investigation”.
The statement confirms a report in The New York Times which included video footage appearing to show two projectiles being fired at the Kyiv-bound Ukraine International Airlines jet.
The Tor-M1 is a short-range surface-to-air missile developed by the former Soviet Union that is designed to target aircraft or cruise missiles.
Iran had for days denied Western claims based on US intelligence reports that the aircraft had been shot down, before admitting to the “disastrous mistake” on January 11.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) aerospace commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh accepted full responsibility but said the missile operator who opened fire had been acting independently.
The downing triggered days of student-led protests mainly in the Iranian capital.
Supreme leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said on Friday that the demonstrations were unrepresentative of the Iranian people and accused the country’s enemies of exploiting the air disaster for propaganda purposes.
In its report, the Civil Aviation Organization said it was “impossible” for it to read the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – commonly known as black boxes – because they were so advanced.