On January 8, 2020, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) deliberately fired surface-to-air missiles and shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, killing all 176 onboard.
Ontario's Superior Court of Justice has recently ruled that the shooting down of Flight PS752 by Iran was an intentional act of terrorism.
"The plaintiffs have established that the shooting down of Flight 752 by the defendants was an act of terrorism and constitutes 'terrorist activity'..."Justice Edward Belobaba wrote in his decision issued December 30, 2021.
"I find on a balance of probabilities that the missile attacks on Flight 752 were intentional and directly caused the deaths of all onboard."
The suit's defendants include Iran, the country's armed forces, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. .
More recently, Canada, Britain, Sweden and Ukraine have said they had abandoned efforts to talk to Iran about reparations for an airliner downed by Iran and would try to settle the matter according to international law.
"Despite our best efforts over the past two years and multiple attempts to resolve this matter through negotiations, the Coordination Group has determined that further attempts to negotiate with Iran ... are futile," it said in a statement.
"The Coordination Group will now focus on subsequent actions to take to resolve this matter in accordance with international law," it continued.
"Considering the TOR-M1 advanced military capabilities, two radars and control system, pre-approved flight plans and control of the airspace resting with the IRGC, and the firing of not one, but two missiles, it is not possible for two missiles to be fired by mistake as the IRGC claims," said one expert, as quoted in the decision. "There are multiple redundant systems and procedures to prevent accidental shooting of civilian aircraft."
The mobile anti-aircraft battery that destroyed the plane had been moved near the airport barely six hours before. Why? This simply cannot be a coincidence.
(The video below was later confirmed by The New York Times.)
Ukrainian forensics chief Alexander Ruvin suggested from evidence obtained that passengers on flight PS752 were out of their seats before two missiles hit the plane west of Tehran.
Was there a third missile?
“When the plane takes off, all passengers are fastened. It rose to an altitude of 2,000 metres. Until the plane rises to an altitude of 8,000 meters, the announcement that passengers should be fastened, does not turn off. So, everyone had to be fastened,” Ruvin said.
“And [yet] we saw the corpses of the dead lying on the ground, without seats. To make it clearer to you, I would say that if the people were fastened, they would fall with their seats, as was the case with passengers of [shot-down] flight MH17 [in Ukraine],” he added.
“And what we saw in Iran means that there was already panic on the plane. There is reason to believe that it was burning inside and through the holes, black smoke came out,” the Ukrainian forensics chief continued.
Three possibilities are raised in an extensive report published by The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims:
First, there are some unverified claims that Iran may have fired not two, but more missiles at the plane. That first missile is believed by multiple witnesses to have missed the plane and instead just caused panic among the passengers in the cabin. The second possibility is that an explosion by an external factor like bombing may have happened before the IRGC missiles hit the plane, and that was the reason why some passengers took off their seatbelts to move to parts of the plane less affected by the explosion... Tor-M1 is designed to take down a fighter plane, cruise missile or helicopter just might not be enough to instantly destroy a big jetliner. The third possibility is that a lot of travelers look out their windows during take-off and landing, many of them might have seen the missile in the last few seconds before it detonated.
Footage of the aftermath of the PS752 flight after being shot down over the city of Shahriar, near Tehran, Iran.
Relatives of three passengers say their loved ones reported they or others were asked if they were U.S. nationals.
“A passenger called his Mom and said ‘That’s absurd, they asked me if I have an American passport,’” an Ontario resident said. “There is another passenger who had a history of living in the United States … and they didn’t allow him to get to the plane for a while.”
This has kept the victims’ relatives in wonder: was the IRGC anxious to prevent American citizens — whose nation would surely respond fiercely if anything untoward happened to them — from getting on that particular plane?
The flight was supposed to leave at 5:15 am, but didn’t move for another 57 minutes.
A detailed analysis released in November by the PS752 families’ association says some of the passengers told relatives in texts or phone calls from on board that one or more passengers had been taken off the plane during the hour-long wait.
On January 3, 2020, the U.S. launched a drone strike killing former IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad Int’l Airport. Iran vowed revenge and launched a ballistic missile attack in the early hours of January 8.
Soon after its bases were attacked that morning, the U.S. seemed to recognize the danger to civilian aircraft. It sent out a “Notice to Airmen” to American airlines barring them from flying in Iranian airspace.
But Iran itself chose to leave most of the country open to civilian air traffic and issued no such warning. This leaves another question unanswered. Why did Iran’s regime refuse to issue a “Notice to Airmen” and ban all flights from taking off in such critical circumstances similar to war?
After the plane came down Iranian authorities immediately went to remove all parts of the aircraft from the crash site while still allowing people in the vicinity to enter the grounds, Ruvin added. Several mobile phones and tablets which belonged to the 176 deceased were taken from the Ukrainian team by the Iranians, Ukrainian official said, adding that Iranian authorities repeatedly obfuscated during the investigation and blocked the foreign team from investigating the site.
Iranian authorities immediately bulldozed the site of the downed airplane, obviously to hide important evidence. Even Iran’s then UK ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad lied about this.
There is satellite imagery of the Ukrainian Airways crash site showing Iranian authorities using bulldozers to raze the site and cleared debris. Why did Iran raze/tamper the evidence? What are they hiding?
Look at these four images carefully:
Read the words of a Ukrainian inspector at the site of the plane crash on January 9, 2020.
“We did not find the lower part of the plane, we found only four seats, and the plane had 167 people plus crew,” Ruvin noted.
It is worth noting that after stalling for over a month, on February 19, 2020, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said the PS752 black box has “sustained noticeable damage and it has been requested of the defense industry to help in reconstructing (it).”
How convenient for Iran’s regime, isn’t it? And quite interesting to see the Defense Ministry being involved in this process, further indicating the sensitive nature of this entire case for Tehran.
Reminder: On January 9, just one day after the plane was shot down, Iran’s own state reported the black boxes were “intact” and the “data can be downloaded.”
On May 18, 2020, Ukraine said it would take the case to the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) if negotiations with Iran over the incident did not progress satisfactorily.
“If negotiations reach an impasse, then we will be forced to appeal to the international arbitration court, the UN International Court of Justice. This is not only about Ukraine, but about a united front of the states of Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Afghanistan and Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yevhen Yenin said, referring to other countries from where other victims of the tragedy came from.
He added that he hoped that Iran would fulfill its international obligations and hand over the black box flight recorders taken from the plane wreckage to enable their decryption.
“So far, Iran has not completed this process. However, a country where such an incident has taken place must ensure the immediate reading of these black boxes or transfer them to a third state,” said the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister.
A look back at this entire dossier is necessary.
On January 8, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 took off from Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital Tehran. Just minutes later the plane was downed with surface-to-air missiles, leaving all 176 onboard dead as a result.
This tragedy took place on the same night that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) was launching ballistic missiles targeting military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops in response to the January 3 killing of IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani by the U.S. military in Baghdad.
During the three days of Tehran’s denial of any wrongdoing, various video footage and images posted on social media raised questions about the plane being shot down and how regime authorities dealt with the issue afterwards, all escalating suspicions of deliberate action taken to shoot the plane down.
Initial reports from Tehran claimed engine failure. However, “Ukraine’s embassy in Iran dropped an initial reference to engine failure as the cause of a Ukrainian plane crash outside Tehran,” according to Reuters.
Ukraine Int’l Airlines said a Boeing 737–800 involved in a fatal crash in Iran was one of the best planes in its fleet and its pilots were very experienced. There were no sign anything was wrong before the plane took off, which was last routinely serviced on January 6, another report adds.
“Iran will not give black box from crashed Ukrainian airliner to Boeing,” a piece published in the state-run Mehr news agency read on the very day Iran shot down the plane.
Simple questions: Why? What does the regime in Iran have to hide?
If there was an engine fire that Iran initially claimed, the plane would have slowed down and the pilots would have made it back to the airport. The plane kept climbing, however. Furthermore, fire suppression systems would have prevented the plane from turning into a ball of fire.
Remember when Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists shot down MH17 in 2014? The investigation took almost two years to complete, even with a Dutch-led international task force. How could the Iranians concluded engine failure in so quickly?
The plane was flying at 8,000 feet and up to 14,000 feet is considered safe altitude. If any incident is to occur, such as decompression inside the plane or anything else, the plane comes to 14,000 feet as it is considered the safest altitude for passenger flights. PS752 was flying at 8,000 feet, making it even safer and easier for the pilots to land the plane in case of an emergency.
It is worth noting that when the plane seeks to land at Khomeini Int’l Airport, when it is in park position, when the plane doors open and even when the stairs are connected to the plane, all these phases are controlled by IRGC units stationed at Khomeini International Airport.
As a result, any claim of the IRGC mistaking the PS752 for a fighter jet or a warplane is ridiculous. Through the entire process the plane was on flight radars and the IRGC cannot claim human error.
The IRGC claimed its units mistook the PS752 for a cruise missile or an American warplane. This is quite impossible as a Boeing 737–800 differs extensively in comparison. And this question comes to mind that how did an American warplane enter Iranian airspace and from what border, decreased its altitude to 8,000 feet above Tehran and the IRGC radar and air defense system suddenly detected it?
A video of two missile launches show the first missile hitting the plane’s wings where the fuel is stored, resulting in a massive fire and explosion. The captain was even able to change direction in an attempt to land the plane when the second missile was fired. This could not have been a human error.
Images from the crash site show shrapnel damage on the wings and fuselage.
Surface to air missiles explode near their target to spray it with shrapnel. This increases the impact ratio significantly. Images from PS752 shows clear signs of shrapnel.
Surface to air missiles explode near their target to spray it with shrapnel. This increases the impact ratio significantly. Images from PS752 shows clear signs of shrapnel.
More signs of shrapnel on a motor of the PS752. Notice how the piercing is towards the inner part of the fuselage. The first motor did not explode into pieces, further debunking the engine failure theory.
The second motor of PS752 is also fairly intact. More proof discrediting the engine failure claims.
In February 2019, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 suffered engine failures, yet the pilots were able to land the plane with support from safety standards procedures. These images compare the Southwest Airlines plane’s failed engine to the shattered engines of PS752.
For those unfamiliar with the SA-11 or Buk missile system, it detonates in midair in proximity of the target plane, floods the cockpit with shrapnel and kills the pilots. Passengers die from depressurization and extreme cold as the plane crashes, usually in one piece.
Just think of the SA-11 as a missile system that tracks its target plane and then fires a shotgun blast of shrapnel to the cockpit upon reaching its range. It is not a high-explosive warhead, according to Ian Miles Cheong.
The Dutch Safety Board produced this video to explain how the Buk missile system works, and how it crashed flight MH17 in July 2014.
A local took this image near the PS752 crash site clearly showing the control segment of a TOR M1 missile. Reports indicate the individual who snapped the initial image was arrested by authorities.
In Iran, the IRGC — designated as a “terrorist organization” by the U.S. State Department — has such TOR M1 units at its disposal. (Image from a military parade in Iran back in September 2013.)
Iran’s Armed Forces claimed the plane was “unintentionally” hit by a military unit based on “human error,” and was heading toward a sensitive IRGC site at a dangerous altitude in the shape of a hostile aircraft.
While Iran’s regime claims the PS752’s flight path was heading toward a sensitive IRGC site, it is worth noting that four other flights had taken the same path from midnight local time prior to PS752’s departure at 6:12 am local time.
Iran’s IRGC Aerospace chief later claimed the SAM battery operator mistook the Ukrainian airliner with a cruise missile.
Cruise missile — 6.25m (20ft) long & 0.52m (21in) in diameter
Boeing 737–800 — Wing span 34.31m (112ft 7in), length 39.47m (129ft 6in), height 12.55m
Regarding Iran’s claim that the air defense unit operator mistook Flight PS752 with a cruise missile, it is worth noting that a cruise missile has a completely different radar signature. It is impossible to see it as a passenger plane.
As for misidentifying the plane as a cruise missile, one of the screens available to the crew shows the speed and altitude of a target object. An airliner steadily climbing thousands of feet into the sky has a much different profile than a cruise missile that typically hugs the terrain hundreds of feet above ground to try to evade radar, and zips along at a much faster rate.
On February 3, Reuters cited Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy saying a recording shows Iran knew immediately it had shot down the PS752 plane.
On the recording, played on a Ukrainian television station late on Sunday, the pilot of another plane can be heard saying he saw “the light of a missile” in the sky before Ukrainian International Airways flight 752 crashed in an explosion.
Heshmat Alavi @HeshmatAlaviUNCONFIRMED NEW VIDEO Footage claims to clearly show two SAM missiles launched at Ukraine Int'l Airlines flight #PS752, and fire engulfing the redirecting and nosediving plane. Note: Camera date is Oct 10, 2019. (Settings could be wrong/outdated.) Feedback is appreciated. https://t.co/uN5yTYmdsM
“Tehran blamed Ukrainian authorities for leaking what it described as confidential evidence and said it would no longer share material with Ukraine from the investigation into the crash.” This further shows Iran’s regime desperately attempting to cloak the truth.
“This action by the Ukrainians led to us not share any more evidence with them,” the official, Hassan Rezaifar said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Reminder: Rezaifar had literally demanded Ukraine compensate for the damages caused.
“He says that ‘it seems to me that a missile is flying’, he says it in both Persian and English, everything is fixed there,” Ukrainian President Zelenskiy said.
To further illustrate the audacity and disgusting nature of Iran’s regime, Amir Ali Hajzadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, the official who finally was forced to acknowledge that PS752 was shot down by SAM missiles, said the following in November 2021:
“This question was raised that why couldn’t the plane land after being hit with one missile?!”
Apart from his lie of only one missile being involved, the very fact that Hajizadeh makes such a remark shows how the regime intends to question the facts as time passes by.
Ukraine International Airways said in a statement the recording provided “yet more proof that the UIA airplane was shot down with a missile, and there were no restrictions or warnings from dispatchers of any risk to flights of civilian aircraft in the vicinity of the airport.”
There are many questions left unanswered by Iran:
Why did they allow civilian flights take off after launching ballistic missiles targeting military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops were stationed?
Why did Iran’s regime shoot down the plane?
Why was a second, and now a possible third, missile launched?
Why did officials lie for three days?
Why didn’t Iran hand over the black boxes and delayed for so long?
We Iranians will never forget how the regime’s state media went the distance to deny any and all accusations of PS752 being shot down. The regime’s official IRIB news agency wired a report titled: “Seven reasons why the claim of Ukrainian plane being shot down by a missile is a lie.”
All signs indicate the IRGC deliberately shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. We have a Canadian court ruling now. The motive remains a mystery. All the more reason why an international investigation is needed on this very sensitive subject.
I end this piece with a reminder of my tweet on February 16, 2020, 40 days after the horrific tragedy.