On Sunday, Iran announced that "a human mistake" in aligning one of the units of the air defense system was the trigger for the downing last January of the Ukrainian plane, whose 176 occupants died in the incident. According to the latest report of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, the investigation has concluded that this unit was not re-established in the north after its change of geographical location, which resulted in "a 107-degree error".
"The identified objects were observed with an increase equivalent to 107 degrees by the air defense system operator," the text explains, which led to the identification of the aircraft as a threat and the firing of two missiles to shoot it down. This was followed by "a chain of events": "a faulty communication" between the system operator and the coordination centre, "an incorrect identification of the object" and a failure to follow the procedures for missile launches.
The Civil Aviation Organization indicated that "the system operator classified the detected target as a threat" and that this was encouraged by "his lack of knowledge of the 107-degree error". As for procedures, the report states that the operator was not authorized to fire without first receiving approval from the Coordination Centre, which never issued such an order.
The impact of the first missile on the aircraft caused a fire in the aircraft, a Boeing 737, which eventually crashed to the ground, at which point an explosion was recorded. Flight 752 of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) was shot down on January 8 when it was mistaken for a missile shortly after taking off from Tehran airport to Kiev. The shoot down came at a time when Tehran was on alert for a possible US attack in retaliation for Iranian bombing of a base in Iraq with US troops.
Of the 176 occupants killed, according to the airline's data, 82 were Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians (two passengers and nine crew), ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British, although the Iranian authorities raise the number to 146 because they do not recognize dual nationality. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Yavad Zarif announced last month that the plane's flight data recorder will be handed over to France for reading and that Iran will pay compensation for the tragedy.