Iran parliament tasks committee to follow up on plane crash: Larijani

Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani says he has tasked the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy with looking into the case of the Ukrainian passenger plane that was shot mistakenly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.
Larijani was addressing an open session of the parliament on Sunday, after lawmakers were briefed by the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, on the circumstances surrounding the plane crash during a closed session of the legislature.
Saying that he has asked the parliamentary commission to examine the cause of the incident, Larijani added, “The committee will follow up on this issue to clarify how it happened and how similar incidents could be prevented in the future.”
He added that during the closed session with the IRGC commander, Salami explained about conditions that led to the downing of the aircraft.
Earlier on Sunday, Major General Salami told the parliament’s closed session that after Iran’s retaliatory attack on the US Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar Province, multilayered projections were made in case the Americans would embark on reprisals so that we could make necessary plans and predictions.
“What came to pass was that we had locked horns with a superpower, and naturally the country was not under regular conditions,” the Fars news agency cited the representative of Tabriz in Iran’s parliament as quoting the IRGC chief.
“Concerning the incident, we are saddened more than anybody else and never thought we would carry out an action that could harm people,” Salami was quoted by the parliamentarian.
The representative of Tabriz also cited Larijani as saying in today’s session that the IRGC is our “strong point” and the enemies aimed to undermine that point, and that the parliament would not allow the slightest blow to the IRGC’s spirit of valor.
On January 8, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Assad airbase, and another outpost in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. Both bases housed US forces.
The missile operation was in response to the January 3 assassination by US terrorists of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and a group of their companions in Baghdad. The cowardly operation was conducted under the direction of Donald Trump, the president of the United States. The US Department of Defense took responsibility for the assassination.
Both commanders enjoyed deep reverence among Muslim nations over their endeavors in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Soon after the assassination, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Washington was to face a “harsh revenge.”
At the White House, Trump has denied the Iranian missiles left any casualties. Tehran said the US military conducted at least nine sorties after the operation, taking the wounded to Jordan and the Occupied Territories, while Chinook helicopters transferred the injured to a US hospital in Baghdad.
The Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) crash came a few minutes after take-off from Tehran en route to Kiev on Wednesday. All the 176 people on board were killed and among them 147 were Iranians.
Early on Saturday, Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said in a statement that the jet had been shot down “unintentionally” due to “human error.”
Later on Saturday, Head of the Aerospace Division of the IRGC General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh accepted full responsibility for the downing and said he had “wished he could die” after being informed of the matter on the same day the crash took place.
Following the Sunday session with the IRGC chief, Iranian lawmakers issued a statement in which they slammed any effort by “the US and its proxies” to exploit the plane incident in order to overshadow Iran’s victory in targeting the US airbase in Iraq.
The lawmakers lauded the IRGC chief for his honesty in explaining the cause of the heart-wrenching incident, adding that without a doubt, the IRGC is ready to do any sacrifice in the service of the Iranian nation.
“We stand by the people and the bereft families of these dear martyrs to condemn the United States and its proxies that take advantage of any opportunity to deal a blow to the heroic Islamic Iran,” the Iranian parliamentarians said.

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