Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people.
Announcing the indictment on Tuesday, Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki avoided naming those responsible.
“The indictment of the case of the Ukrainian plane was…issued and a serious and accurate investigation was carried out and indictments were issued for 10 people who were at fault,” Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Mr. Torki as saying, without providing details.
The announcement came just hours before Iran and the five world powers remaining in its nuclear accord meet in Vienna, where the US is due to start indirect talks with Tehran.
Its timing also came after Iran faced withering international criticism last month for releasing a final report into the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight No. PS752 that blamed human error, but named no one.
After three days of denial in January 2020, in the face of mounting evidence, Iran finally acknowledged that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian jetliner with two surface-to-air missiles. In preliminary reports on the disaster,last year, the Iranian government blamed an air defense operator who it said mistook the Boeing 737-800 for an American cruise missile.
The shootdown happened the same day Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on US troops in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed a senior Iranian general.
While Revolutionary Guard officials publicly apologized for the incident, several Western governments nevertheless criticized Tehran for its reluctance to elaborate on what happened on that fateful day.
In response to Iran’s final investigative report, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba lambasted the findings, calling it a “cynical attempt” to hide the true causes of the disaster. He accused Iran of conducting a “biased” probe into the disaster that resulted in “deceptive” conclusions.