It was followed by an apology from Iran’s president and condolences from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded on Saturday morning that Iran must make an official apology and agree to a full investigation and compensation, as well as co-operating with Ukraine’s own investigators. “Our 45 professionals should have full access and co-operation to establish justice,” a statement from the presidency said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his country’s focus remained on “closure, accountability, transparency, and justice” for the families of the 57 Canadian victims.
Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, wrote on Saturday: “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.”
This happened only hours after the Iranians sent missiles on American military bases in Iraq without killing anyone, in retaliation for the drone killing last week of General Qasem Souleimani, the head of Al Quds, the most important brigade of the Iranian Guardians of the Revolution.
The burial of Souleimani, who has coordinated all the external activities of Iran in the region, assembled hundreds of thousands of Iranians and led to 35 deaths by a stampede in his hometown.
But the interesting question is why did it take so long for the Iranian Government to accept responsibility for the downing of the plane?
Surely the Iranian President Rouhani and the Supreme Leader of the Revolution Ali Khamenei have access to the same data, and even more, than the western intelligence sources and therefore knew from the very beginning what had happened.
Could it be that the downing of the Ukrainian jetliner was NOT unintentional?
Tehran Imam Khomeini International airport handles 58’000 flights a year or more than 150 a day and they all follow the same routes which are perfectly known and charted in anti-aerial defense systems.
Why would this particular flight, a US-made Boeing airplane heading to Kyiv, Ukraine, the country at the center of the Donald Trump impeachment, be targetted? and not any other flight that day?
How come this particular flight could have been mistaken as a threat and not all the other flights that took off before it and followed exactly the same route after taking off?
Obviously one cannot exclude a human or a system error and this is what the US argued at the time of the downing of an Iranian Airbus by the USS Vincennes over the Persian Gulf in 1988 killing 290 passengers.
However, most defense specialists consider that it is extremely unlikely to mistaken a normally operational commercial flight with its identification systems on from a threatening jet with hostile intentions.
Moreover, when this flight takes off from a nearby friendly airport amongst 100 other flights, it is even more difficult to make a mistake.
Is the sudden flow of recognition and excuses due to the fact that Iran sensed that America, Canada, and the other countries could make the case that Iran VOLUNTARILY shot down a commercial airplane and use it as a clear “casus belli” against the Pasdaran to attack them directly?
Could it be that some high ranking officers of the Revolutionary Guard wanted to avenge Qasem Suleimani, WITHOUT provoking America directly?
Judging from the bombing of the American military bases in Iraq, it is clear that Iran has taken the full measure of the determination of Donald Trump to engage into war with Iran if American lives are taken away and the last thing Iran wants today is a war with America or with Israel.
On the other hand, it cannot remain idle after the killing of Suleimani and probably does not want to remain idle and let things happen.
The Iranian regime is built on a narrative of conflict with the West and with America in particular since 1979 and it is currently extremely weakened economically and politically. Remaining idle after the killing of Suleimani is not an option.
And provoking America directly is not an option either!
Was the downing of this particular plane a message?
Could it be that some high-ranking officer of the Revolutionary Guards decided to avenge Qasem Suleimani WITHOUT the agreement or the blessing of Ali Khamenei?
Everything is possible and if that was the case, it would really mean that Ali Khamenei, Hassan Rouhani and Jawad Zarif have little control over what the Pasdaran do and decide to do.
This could explain the fact that it took several days of public denials before admitting to the issue, but it would also mean that the US – Iranian crisis is much more dangerous than we think because it is not only one party that holds the commands in Iran but several.
Could it be that some high-ranking officer of the Revolutionary Guards decided to avenge Qasem Suleimani this way WITH the agreement or the blessing of Ali Khamenei?
This is also a possibility but if that was the case then it would really mean that the Iranians have decided to wage a covert war against the West without attacking Americans directly while creating damages, fear, and disruptions in many various ways.
We are not adepts of conspiracy theories but we aim at analyzing every possibility like chess players do and see what the ramifications and consequences are.
And you can rest assured that all the questions above are the ones that are currently being asked by the likes of Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson to their respective intelligence and military people, let alone Benyamin Netanyahu.
What is striking with this downing is that it obviously bears little significance in the conflict when looked at from the Western point of view. What is the purpose of downing a civilian aircraft from Ukraine with mostly Canadian and Iranian passengers on board? Almost none!
But the message is maybe not for the West but for the Revolutionary Guards in Iran where the symbolism is totally different. An American plane operated by a Ukrainian Company, a lot of innocent victims as was the case in the Iranian Airbus of 1988, a way of putting pressure by US Allies (Canada) on Donald Trump, etc. etc.
Obviously all the above is only conjectures and political what-ifs, however, our main point is actually different :
Our assumption is that the US- Iran confrontation is far from being over and this conclusion is based on the following observations :
- Iran’s Islamic Republic regime has a mission that goes beyond the well-being of its people. It is a model based on the supremacy of the religious guidance over the day-to-day life versus the secular model of the rest of the world – and on the need to assure the Shias of the world – 20 % of the Muslim world- areas, and nations where they are dominant such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.The Islamic Republic of Iran is the ONLY country in the world ruled by religious clerics and it needs to export its model to prove its worth and justify the sacrifices endured by the Iranian population over the past 40 years.
Its quest for the nuclear weapon and its quest for dominance in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen are both to be read in the context of the Shia supremacy ideology.
The Iranians are highly intelligent people and they know full well that they would have a better life if they integrated into the world.
Their drive to acquire nuclear technology and to dominate these countries have therefore nothing to do with well-being but with what their leaders perceive as being their mission and THEY WILL NOT ABANDON THESE QUESTS
- The economic sanctions put by Donald Trump on Iran are suffocating its economy and triggering mass protests that have been contained for now but may become less and less controllable with time. The killing of Qasem Suleimani may have re-united the people temporarily as the National pride has been attacked, but day-to-day life is not improving, quite the opposite with the imposing of new sanctions.
- Ultimately, the Iranians will go back to the negotiating table as they have in 2015 because the regime knows they will probably not survive in economic isolation in the long run. But to get there, they probably prefer another President than Donald Trump and if you want to be in a powerful negotiating position, you have to demonstrate a real power of nuisance, not only on the USA, but also on its western partners
This is why we are of the view that Iran will not just stop there, but on the contrary, will step up its operations in a covert way, without ever attacking the US directly in terms of life casualties.
One of the areas that could be a real threat is cyber-attacks, and in particular cyber-attacks on America’s financial markets and banking systems
A few years ago, seven Iranian cyberterrorists conducted what was the largest cyber-attack ever — wreaking millions of dollars in damages on 46 major U.S. banks, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, American Express and PNC.
Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike called the hit “unprecedented” and America launched international arrest warrants against the seven Iranian involved.
More recently, cyber terrorists were able to repeatedly infiltrate the Nasdaq computer network. They got into the central hub of over 3,300 publicly traded companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft and security experts didn’t even know why they were there or what their target was!
More than half of the world’s 46 stock exchanges have reported being hit by at least one cyberattack and according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, 88% of brokerages and 74% of financial advisors have also faced cyber-attacks over the past ten years.