Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), wrote on Twitter: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and survivors of the victims of the disastrous plane crash this morning in Tehran where 179 innocent people lost their lives. 147 of them were our own compatriots, including children, young people and the elderly.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and survivors of the victims of the disastrous plane crash this morning in #Tehran where 179 innocent people lost their lives. 147 of them were our own compatriots, including children, young people and the elderly #Iran
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) January 8, 2020
The crash happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning, shortly after a Boeing 737-800 airliner, bound for the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, took off from Tehran.
All of the passengers died, but some reports state that some of the crew survived. However, the state-run Iranian news agency ISNA has reported that the bodies of the victims are so mutilated that it is hard to identify them.
Ukrainian media says that most of the passengers were Iranian, confirming Rajavi’s figures of 147 Iranian passengers, stating that 32 were from other countries. Ukraine’s national security council said that 11 Ukrainian citizens died in the crash, including nine members of the crew.
Boeing tweeted, shortly after the crash, that they would be conducting a thorough investigation. The cause of the crash is unknown, but there are plenty of suspicions floating about.
Iranian regime’s officials said that the plane’s engine caught fire and the crew was unable to regain control, while state media also raised the prospect of technical problems but didn’t elaborate further. However, the Iranian regime is refusing to cooperate with investigations.
The head of Tehran’s civil aviation organization said that it would not hand over the airliner’s black box to Boeing. (Black boxes are electronic recording devices that help provide information about what was happening in the cockpit in the event of a crash. They are usually handed over to the manufacturer for investigation.)
Other reports suggest that the plane could have been targeted by the Iranian regime’s anti-aircraft units, as videos obtained from the incident shows the plane suddenly catching fire before the crash. That can be an indication of a targeted explosion.
The Ukrainian embassy in Iran dropped its initial reference to engine failure as the cause of the crash and stated that from today its airliners would be banned from flying through Iranian airspace, which is a further indication that this is not an error with the plane.