Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has defended the country’s armed forces after it admitted shooting down a passenger plane by mistake.
He described the crash as a bitter tragedy and also claimed that Iran’s enemies used the crash and the military’s admission to weaken the Revolutionary Guard. He said the Revolutionary Guard maintained the security of the country.
Widespread protests and criticism from abroad have put growing pressure on Iran over its handling of the incident.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that Ukraine wants Iran to issue a formal document admitting its guilt.
The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was travelling to Kyiv from Tehran on 8 January when it crashed shortly after take-off. All 176 passengers on board, including nationals from Iran, Canada, Sweden and the UK, were killed.