Less than a day after Iran finally acknowledged that its armed forces unintentionally brought down a Ukrainian jetliner, Iranian authorities’ admission of the “unforgivable mistake” has had major reverberations — both in Iran’s capital, Tehran, where demonstrators crowded local universities Saturday, and around a stunned world.
“The fact that Iran has now taken responsibility for the downing of that aircraft means that it is likely that they will be full participants and fully allow a credible, independent international investigation with all partners involved,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference Saturday.
“We still have work to do to ensure that happens,” he added, “but the question of responsibility, I think, takes us a step forward towards truly having a very credible and thorough investigation.”
The prime minister’s comments came two days after he first revealed Canada’s suspicion that an Iranian missile system shot down the plane near Tehran early Wednesday. Of the 176 people who were killed aboard the aircraft, 57 were Canadian nationals.
“I had a chance to sit with some of the families of the victims,” Trudeau said Saturday. “They are hurt, angry and grieving. They want answers. They want justice. What Iran has admitted to is very serious. Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific. Iran must take full responsibility. Canada will not rest until we get the accountability, justice and closure that the families deserve.”
Canadians were far from the only passengers who on board. Most of the passengers on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 were Iranian. Demonstrators there turned out in droves Saturday to mourn the victims and protest the actions of their own government, which spent days forcefully denying the missile strike before reversing course with its admission.