Iran admits it unintentionally shot down Ukranian airliner, killing 176 people 4 months ago

Iran admits it unintentionally shot down Ukranian airliner, killing 176 people

Iran had previously denied any involvement.

Iran has admitted "unintentionally" shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.

In a statement, the nation's armed forces said it targeted the passenger plane unintentionally following radar activity and fear of US action.

The statement was followed by an apology from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences," Rouhani wrote on Saturday.

Iran's military said the jet flew close to a site belonging to Iran's Revolutionary Guards and was then mistaken for a hostile aircraft due to human error.

Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, wrote: “A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by armed forces: human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

Iran had previously denied suggestions that it was responsible for the crash.

However international pressure had been growing on Iran to take responsibility with US and allied intelligence agencies concluding that Iranian missiles had been responsible for the crash.

Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Tehran's airport.

The crash came just hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops in retaliation for a drone strike which killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.