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New York

Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:24 GMT

Protests Erupt over Iran Admitting Downing Ukrainian Plane by Mistake


7Dnews London

Sun, 12 Jan 2020 18:19 GMT

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the country's streets after their regime admitted responsibility for downing the Ukrainian plane by mistake thus killing all of its 176 passengers on January 8th. The plane was shot down by a missile just a few minutes after taking off. Angry protesters, who have been calling on the country's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to apologise and resign, were chanting slogans against him saying, "Death to the dictator!" As a result, riot police spread across Tehran trying to deter the protests by launching teargas bombs against protesters.

Reuters reported that Iranians are asking for Khamenei's resignation due to their anger over the dead passengers of whom at least were 130 Iranians with dual nationality. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that downing the plane was "a disastrous mistake". Meanwhile, Iranians' anger escalated over the authorities’ delay in announcing the truth, especially after they knew that a top Revolutionary Guards commander had informed concerned authorities that a missile had hit the plane on the day it crashed.

Protesters have been amassing in the streets while holding banners with the names of the Ukrainian plane victims. According to Business Insider, videos of the protests have gone viral on social media showing protesters being attacked violently by riot police.

Meanwhile, the press has severely condemned the regime over delaying announcing the truth. Both the press and people's anger are putting pressure on the Iranian regime which they believe has added to the challenges already facing the country. According to Al-Arabiya, Iranian “opposition” leader Mehdi Karoubi called on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to step down and leave his post. Karoubi, who has been under house arrest for years, told Khamenei, "You do not possess the qualities of leadership as no one knows where you were as commander-in-chief of the armed forces on the morning of the plane crash, why did you not say anything, why did you deny and keep on lying for 3 days?"

Karoubi concluded by saying, "I believe that you lack the wisdom, courage, management, and strength to lead, therefore, you have to step down." Karoubi's message came hours after at least 1,000 students protested in front of Amirkabir University in Tehran.

Iran has been committing a series of irresponsible acts since it downed the plane. Skynews reported, Iranian authorities detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, for a short while over claims that he was provoking and directing radical actions.

Macaire stringently denied allegations of being involved in any demonstration or encouraging it. Macaire tweeted, "I have been to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of the Ukrainian plane tragedy. There were British citizens among the victims and I left 5 minutes after the chants started."

"It is of course illegal in all countries to detain diplomats," he added.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued a statement on January 11th in which he condemned the arrest of Macaire without credible reasons. The arrest, according to Raab, was a blatant violation of international laws. Raab also said Iran can either continue its march toward being an outsider and be exiled from the world or de-escalate tensions and get involved on the diplomatic path, Reuters reported.

As an aside, The Guardian reported that US President Donald Trump has warned Iranian authorities against being violent with angry protesters. "Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and evaluate the situation in order to be able to report facts from realty about the ongoing protests in the country," said Trump.

Trump tweeted in both English and Farsi, "To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you." He added, "We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage.”

Middle East