Iran vows to ‘punish’ those responsible for shooting down Ukrainian plane as arrests are made

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Iran announced Tuesday authorities have arrested those responsible for accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane last week as President Hassan Rouhani said that anyone involved in the “painful and unforgivable” mishap “should be punished.”

The arrests come as Iran’s judiciary also has taken 30 people into custody over street protests that have erupted inside the Islamic Republic following the plane disaster. The shootdown and the lack of transparency from Iranian officials – who initially claimed the crash was the result of a mechanical failure – has reignited anger at the country’s leadership.

“The judiciary should form a special court with a ranking judge and dozens of experts,” President Rouhani said in a speech televised in Iran. “This is not an ordinary case. The entire world will be watching this court.”

Iran acknowledged only on Saturday – three days later and in the face of mounting evidence – that its Revolutionary Guard forces had shot down the plane by mistake as it braced for a possible military confrontation with the United States.

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