What happened in 3 days after plane crash in Iran?
Iran's military said last Saturday that a Ukrainian commercial aircraft had been "accidentally" hit by an Iranian missile early last week, killing 176 passengers on board.
Iranian authorities insisted for three days that the plane had crashed due to technical failure.
A few hours before last Wednesday's crash, Iran fired missiles at bases in Iraq where U.S. and coalition troops were stationed. The attack was revenge for the the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike which escalated tensions in the region between Washington and Tehran.
Iranian officials said its armed forces were on high alert in case of American retaliation, which led it to believe the Ukrainian plane was an enemy aircraft.
Nationals of seven countries were aboard the airliner, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vladimir Pristayko: 82 Iranian, 63 Canadian, 11 Ukrainian, 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British citizens.
A Ukrainian delegation arrived in Tehran to help in investigations into the incident.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, said the main possible causes of the plane crash were though to be a missile strike, engine failure or terrorist attack.
Ali Abedzadeh, the head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization, said in a written statement that the pilot had not called for any assistance.
The plane disappeared from the radar after rising 7,000 feet, Abedzadeh said, stressing that no distress call had been received from the pilot before the crash.
He pointed out that the plane tried to return to the airport from which it took off.
For his part, Hassan Rezaeifar, the director-general of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization, said the pilot was trying to return to the airport, stressing that if a missile had hit the plane, it would have exploded immediately.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said intelligence sources in various countries concluded that the crash of the Boeing aircraft was due to a missile attack by Iran, likely unintentional.
U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made similar claims as well.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Council President Charles Michel.
The New York Times published a video showing the Ukrainian plane being hit by an Iranian missile.
Iranian Government spokesman Ali Rebiei denied that his country was responsible, calling the allegation a lie and a psychological operation by the U.S.
Rebiei stated that technical investigations were carried out regularly and quickly upon the instruction of President Rouhani, and that results would be announced as soon as the probes are completed.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Tehran invited relevant countries including Ukraine and Canada as well as Boeing to participate in the investigations.
Hassan Rezaeifar, the director-general of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization, said Iran was ready to share evidence that the plane was not hit by a missile.
However, the President of the Council of the EU, Charles Michel, went on to demand investigations.
On Twitter, Ukrainian President Zelensky thanked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after a phone call, saying: "Grateful for the condolences of the American people & valuable support of the U.S. in investigating the causes of the plane crash. Information obtained from the U.S. will assist in the investigation.
Iranian authorities once again said the aircraft was not shot down by an air defense missile, and that the actual reason for the incident would be revealed after its black box was examined.
As the controversy continued, more airline companies stopped flights to Tehran.
After three days of discussion, the Iranian general staff confessed it accidentally targeted the Ukrainian airlines aircraft with a missile.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif apologized for downing the plane, with President Hassan Rouhani saying: "The investigation should continue and legal action should be taken against those responsible for this inexcusable mistake."
Iranian leader Ali Khamenei instructed the chief of general staff to examine possible defects and omissions. Iran also decided to send the plane's black box to France.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, upon the confession from Tehran, insisted that the country fully accept the crime and bring those responsible to justice, return the bodies, pay compensation and make an official apology.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the aircraft was perceived as a cruise missile.
"Especially when the Americans announced that they would hit 52 locations in Iran, the attack and defense units were fully on high alert," Hajizadeh said.
Expressing great sorrow for the incident, Hajizadeh said he wished to die when he learned the Ukrainian plane was shot down and added that they took responsibility of the incident.
"We will obey any decision the authorities will make about us," he said.
He said that some air defense units were deployed in Tehran and that the defense systems deployed to the western parts of Tehran caused the incident.
Iran's president apologized to his Ukrainian counterpart in a phone call after the announcement of the plane being shot down by a missile was made.
Rouhani also called Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and told him that Iran was ready for all kinds of cooperation.