TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Saturday acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 people aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations and mounting evidence that it was responsible.
Iran’s acknowledgment also alters the narrative around its confrontation with the U.S. in a way that could anger the Iranian public. Iran had promised harsh revenge after Soleimani’s death, but instead of killing American soldiers, its forces downed a civilian plane in which most passengers were Iranian and none survived.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard’s aerospace division, said his unit accepts “full responsibility” for the shootdown. In an address broadcast by state TV, he said that when he learned about the downing of the plane, “I wished I was dead.”