Iran makes arrests after military downs Ukrainian jetliner, killing 176

Iranian officials have made arrests in connection with the downing last week of a Ukrainian jetliner carrying 176 people near Tehran.

It was not immediately clear how many people were arrested or what charges they face. In a statement carried by state television and obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said officials were in the early stages of their investigation.

Iranian authorities said Saturday that military officials unintentionally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing everyone on-board hours after the military launched a ballistic missile attack on two bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq. The missile attack was ordered Wednesday in retaliation for an earlier U.S. airstrike that claimed the life of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Esmaili said Tuesday that authorities are investigating whether "U.S. warmongering" played a part in the downing of the Ukrainian jetliner, according to the Journal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the incident an "unforgivable error" during a television address Tuesday and vowed it would be thoroughly investigated, according to Reuters.

"Iranian armed forces admitting their mistake is a good first step," Rouhani said Tuesday. He called for the creation of a special court to probe the incident and the circumstances leading to it, The Associated Press reported.

"The responsibility falls on more than just one person," he said, according to the AP. "This is not an ordinary case. The entire world will be watching this court."

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from Tehran to the Ukrainan capital, Kyiv, when it was shot down shortly after takeoff. The victims included citizens of several countries, including 82 Iranians and 57 Canadians.

The shootdown and the lack of transparency around it reignited anger in Iran at the country's leadership, sparking a new wave of anti-government protests over the weekend, CNN reported. Authorities said the protests led to around 30 arrests, according to the news network. By Tuesday, protests had largely subsided, according to the Journal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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