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Day 76 – Q 4.Recently, Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane accidentally. Who would you hold accountable for this terrible catastrophe and why? Substantiate.

4. Recently, Iran shot down a Ukrainian plane accidentally. Who would you hold accountable for this terrible catastrophe and why? Substantiate.   

हाल ही में, ईरान ने गलती से एक यूक्रेनी विमान को गिरा दिया। इस भयानक तबाही के लिए आप किसे जिम्मेदार ठहराएंगे और क्यों? पुष्टी करें।


Just a few hours after Iran launched an attack against US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the US killing of Qassem Soleimani, a Boeing passenger jet bound for Ukraine crashed shortly after it took off from Tehran. All 176 people on board were killed. Iran originally claimed the crash was not caused by any military action. However, later, Iranian officials admitted the plane was shot down which has raised the global calls for accountability for this terrible loss of life.


  • Iranian officials called the act the result of human error, and President Hassan Rouhani apologized in a statement on social media. The military apologised for downing the plane, saying it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future. It added that those responsible would be held accountable and prosecuted.
  • While the resignation of officials are seen as a “weakness” in Iran, such a measure would demonstrate “accountability” at a time when public trust has been badly shaken due to the attempts to mislead Iranians and the international community.
  • Earlier, after the plane was shot down, despite the statements by the US and Canada as well as the media’s release of the video — Iran continued to deny that a missile felled the plane. States have been historically reluctant to take responsibility for attacks on civilian planes.
  • An act of such dishonesty has led to many calls for prosecution of Iranian officials especially the revolutionary guards, who are responsible for this attack. People of different nationalities have been killed in this disaster which brings in the question of international diplomacy and ethics involved in it.
  • As a rule, all modern states tend to be secretive. Classifying even the most mundane information as “secret” is second nature to the bureaucratic state. States lie and cheat and justify all in the name of a higher purpose: raison d’etat (national interest).
  • But democratic systems have produced a measure of transparency that curbs lying and corruption. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran does the opposite. It is a unique blend of theocracy and democracy – and it is uniquely bad when it comes to transparency. This makes a mockery of the separation of powers that is in the letter of the Iranian Constitution. Article 77 of the Iranian Constitution also forbids secret diplomacy.
  • Further, analysts have questioned the decision not to close Tehran’s airspace in the days after the escalation with USA over killing of an Iranian general. Closing airspace entails serious financial losses, fines and forfeits, therefore a cynical approach prevailed in Iran. This certainly should be acted upon in the measures towards pinning accountability for the accident.
  • Just hours before the incident, Iran had launched long-range ballistic missiles into Iraq toward bases hosting U.S. personnel. In such a situation, usually Iranian air defense systems would be on high alert. Shortly after the crash, images began circulating on social media purporting to show remnants from a missile fired by a Russian-manufactured SA-15 air defense system near the site of the crash. Iran’s air defense is equipped with the SA-15 system
  • The international nature of that tangle of weapons systems and security interests–a Russian air defense system, a Ukrainian airliner, tensions with the United States–complicates the efforts at investigating the crash. Under international aviation rules, authorities in the country where the crash took place have the authority to lead a crash investigation. Countries representing the owner of a crashed aircraft, its manufacturer, and the victims may also participate in the investigation. 
  • The US did not retaliate the night of the ballistic missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops. However, that has not stopped Iranian officials who sought to try to blame “US adventurism” for Iran shooting down the airplane.
  • The more recent shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shows that international law is still ill equipped to handle states that refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. 
  • After the dutch investigation in this regard, the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted new rules for how civil aircraft operate in or near conflict zones. Those new rules hold the state responsible for safety in airspace it controls, which includes ensuring that lines of communication between aircraft and local military assets is functional and communicating risks to airlines and airports.


Thus, it can be seen that Iran stands responsible for the gruesome attack on civilian aircraft as per the established international rules and regulations which entails collective efforts of countries involved to bring the victims to justice while also considering the nature of ‘human error’ involved as well as broader accountability of people involved.

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