- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2020

Condemnation of Iran poured in from around the globe Saturday after Tehran finally admitted that its military shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 aboard, and President Trump tweeted a message of support for outraged Iranian anti-government demonstrators in their own language.

“It’s absolutely irresponsible,” Ukraine International Airlines vice president Ihor Sosnovskiy told reporters. “There must be protection around ordinary people. If they are shooting somewhere from somewhere, they are obliged to close the airport.”

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif drew scorn for saying on Twitter of the crash, “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” a reference to military tensions between the two nations in the past week.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, New York Republican, responded to Mr. Zarif, “Just how completely twisted in the head do you have to be to shoot down a passenger plane killing all on board and then write this disgusting tweet? A new low even for Iran.”

Videos posted on social media also showed street protests erupting in Iran against the government and the military after the revelation.

Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday, “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

The president also tweeted the message in Farsi.

Mr. Trump also warned Tehran, “The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted a video of one massive protest in Iran, saying the demonstrations are an unmistakable message to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude, and brutality of the IRGC under @khamenei_ir’s kleptocracy,” he said. “We stand with the Iranian people who deserve a better future.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Iran “must take full responsibility.” Sixty-three Canadian citizens were killed on the plane.

The plane was brought down early Wednesday by two missiles fired from the ground, moments after it took off from Tehran’s airport.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that he expects “a full admission of guilt” and for Iran “to bring those responsible to justice.”

“This morning was not good, but it brought the truth,” Mr. Zelensky said on Facebook. “We expect from Iran assurances of readiness for a full and open investigation, bringing the perpetrators to justice, returning the bodies of the dead, payment of compensations, official apologies through diplomatic channels. We hope that the investigation will continue in the future without artificial delays and obstacles.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Iran’s “admission that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by mistake by its own armed forces is an important first step.” Four British nationals were among those killed in the crash.

“We now need a comprehensive, transparent and independent international investigation and the repatriation of those who died,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement. “The U.K. will work closely with Canada, Ukraine and our other international partners affected by this accident to ensure this happens.”

He added, “We can all see very clearly that further conflict will only lead to more loss and tragedy. It is vital that all leaders now pursue a diplomatic way forward.”

Frances Townsend, a former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush, commented on Twitter, “A country that cannot competently operate its air defense system aspires to possess #nuclear weapons! Really?! Just contemplate that for a moment.”

Based in part from reporting from wire services.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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