On July 11, Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) published its third report on its investigations into the downing of Flight PS752. This report not only failed to answer our existing questions, it also raised further questions and suspicions.
In this report, Iran has attempted to reduce this sophisticated multi-layered attack to a mere human error of the operator of the air defense unit. Iran blamed this attack on a grossly misaligned air defense radar, lack of communication between the operator and the commanders, and a decision to fire without authorization.
First, we must note that Iran’s AAIB is neither independent nor qualified to lead the investigations. This Bureau is an acting agent for the Islamic Republic regime, and it has repeatedly demonstrated its focus on assisting the regime to suppress any voice that seeks the truth.
Undoubtedly, this obvious unfitness of AAIB directly contributed to the creation of the following contradictions, issues and concerns that the families have regarding this new report.
- PS752 was not the only flight took off from Tehran’s international airport in the five-hour period (from 1:20 am to 6:30 am). If this air defense unit was indeed misaligned by 107 degrees, how come the missiles were fired only towards Flight PS752?
- How was this sophisticated mobile air defense unit set up with a whopping 107 degrees of error in a city like Tehran, where any ordinary person can tell the north from south with its unmistakable mountains?
- How was a departing civilian airliner allegedly mistaken for an incoming cruise missile, with obvious differences in radar cross-section, speed, altitude, and visual cues?
- Who decided to refuse the closure of Iran’s air space in the morning of January 8, amid extreme military tensions? What was Supreme National Security Council role on this decision? Does the report answer this question?
- Who ordered that mobile air defense unit to be stationed near the airport, and who ordered the firing of not one, but at least two missiles? Does the report answer this question?
- Why has Iran chosen this particular time to publish this flawed report? We are only a week away from the deadline for Iran to deliver the black boxes. Was Iran attempting to divert the public attention and distort the public opinion before the read-out of the flight recorders?
- The read-out of the flight recorders, which is the first step in any investigation, has not been done yet. How come this report was published before this first step of the investigations?
Fabrication of this false narrative of “human error” and preparation of this heavily flawed report is the continuation of Iran’s mockery of all international rules and conventions. The international bodies – such as the ICAO council and the air safety investigation boards of the other involved countries – have been watching Iran repeatedly violate the law, and they have remained silent nonetheless.
The families need closure. We need to know the truth and get justice. Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization and its AAIB are not independent bodies contrary to ICAO requirements. To relegate this file to these corrupt organizations is to cooperate with those with the blood of 176 innocent souls on their hands.