The plane, which turned out to be a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board, crashed and exploded in a ball of fire.
Within minutes, the top commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards realized what they had done. And at that moment, they began to cover it up.
For days, they refused to tell even President Hassan Rouhani, whose government was publicly denying that the plane had been shot down. When they finally told him, he gave them an ultimatum: come clean or he would resign.
Only then, 72 hours after the plane crashed, did Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, step in and order the government to acknowledge its fatal mistake.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard spotted an unidentified aircraft near Tehran’s international airport. He only had a couple seconds to decide what to do.
Given the context of the situation, Iran had recently just fired several barrages of ballistic missiles at American military forces, the military was understandably extremely on edge. In addition, there was currently a warning out from the Iranian military leadership for warnings on incoming cruise missiles.
After several failed attempts to reach higher ups in the military, the soldier received no response. The decision was made to fire several antiaircraft miles at the unidentified aircraft.
Unfortunately, the unidentified aircraft turned out to be a commercial Ukrainian jetliner