Ukraine has demanded that Iran punish those guilty for the shooting of a Ukrainian airliner and compensate victims after they admitted they accidentally downed the Ukraine International Airlines plane, killing all 176 people.
‘We expect Iran to bring the guilty to the courts,’ the Ukrainian leader wrote on Facebook, calling also for the ‘payment of compensation’ and the return of remains.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was due to discuss the incident with his Iranian counterpart President Hassan Rouhani at 5pm local time, his press office said.
This comes after Iran admitted on Saturday that it accidentally downed the Ukraine International Airlines plane, killing all 176 people on board on Wednesday, shortly after launching missiles at bases hosting US forces in Iraq.
Iran said a missile operator shot down the Boeing 737 after mistaking it for a cruise missile at a time when threats were at the highest level.
The majority of passengers on UIA Flight PS752 from Tehran to Kiev were Iranian-Canadian dual nationals but also included Ukrainians, Afghans, Britons, and Swedes.
Rouhani said Tehran ‘deeply regrets this disastrous mistake’ and have invited the United States, Ukraine, Canada, and others to join the crash investigation.
Tehran has handed Ukrainian experts enough data including ‘all the photos, videos and other materials’ to show the investigation ‘will be carried out objectively and promptly,’ Zelensky’s office said. ‘The political part of the work is finished,’ it added.
UIA vice president Igor Sosnovsky told a news conference in Kiev on Saturday that Tehran should have closed the airport due to the regional tensions following the US assassination of a top Iranian general.
‘It’s absolutely irresponsible,’ Sosnovsky said, accusing Iran of failing to protect ordinary citizens while ‘playing at war.’
‘They were obliged to close the airport. Obliged! Then shoot as much as you like.’
Pro-western Ukraine MP Volodymyr Ariev also praised Iran on Facebook, saying: ‘Iran has shown itself to be more civilised than Russia,’
‘Tehran has admitted its guilt in three days while Russia continues to try to get out of it.’
JUST IN: Israel Confirms Its First Case Of Coronavirus
The virus was confirmed in a citizen who flew home from Japan earlier this week after being quarantined on the stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess.
“One of the passengers who returned home from the cruise ship in Japan tested positive in a checkup by the health ministry’s central laboratory,” a ministry statement said.
The statement added that the other dozen Israeli passengers who had flown home had all tested negative.
BREAKING: Two Test Positive For Coronavirus In Iran
Two people in Iran tested positive Wednesday for the deadly new coronavirus, the health ministry said in the Islamic republic’s first cases of the disease.
Kianoush Jahanpour, a ministry spokesman, said the cases were detected in the holy city of Qom, south of the Iranian capital.
“In the past two days, some suspect cases of the new coronavirus were observed in Qom city,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
“Teams were dispatched after receiving the reports, and based on the existing protocols the suspect cases were isolated and tested,” said Jahanpour.
“Out of the samples sent, a laboratory tested two of them as positive for coronavirus just minutes ago and some of the other samples were type B influenza.”
The health ministry spokesman said additional tests were being done on the two cases and final results would be announced “as soon as possible”.
The new coronavirus epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people in China and infected more than 74,000. It has spread to at least two dozen countries.
The United Arab Emirates was the first country in the Middle East to report cases of coronavirus last month.
Why Trump Doesn’t Want War With Us — Iran’s President Rouhani
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has stated that he doesn’t believe Trump wants a war with his country as it will ”affect his re-election prospects.”
According to Rouhani, the US’ maximum pressure sanctions against Iran has failed, and the Iranian regime will only renegotiate with the US if crippling sanctions against Iran are removed and the US rejoins the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal negotiated by Obama but exited by Trump in 2018.
The Iranian leader added that war would be harmful to U.S. interests and those of its regional allies like Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Iran.
“I think the Americans aren’t after war since they know what harm it could do them,” said Rouhani in a news conference.
Rouhani said that Persian Gulf nations like the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar stood a lot to lose if conflict between Iran and the U.S. turns to war.
‘Talks could take place if the U.S. were to scrap damaging economic sanctions and reinstate commitments made in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated by the Obama administration between Iran and global powers’, Rouhani said.
Rouhani also said he didn’t care who won the next US elections.
“We will never sit at the negotiating table with a weak position,” Rouhani said.
U.S.-Iranian relations have been strained for a while resulting in the early-January U.S. drone strike ordered by Trump that killed Iran’s general, Qassem Soleimani to which Iran responded with airstrikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops which left scores of soldiers with brain injuries.