Iranian president: Downing of Ukrainian jet an 'unforgivable' mistake

Iranian president: Downing of Ukrainian jet an 'unforgivable' mistake
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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet by Iranian forces was an "unforgivable" mistake and vowed that members of the armed forces would be held accountable.

Reuters reported that Rouhani told viewers in a televised speech Tuesday on state media that the “tragic event” would be investigated.

“Iranian armed forces admitting their mistake is a good first step," Rouhani said, adding: "We should assure people that it will not happen again,” 

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Rouhani's government, he added, was “accountable to Iranian and other nations who lost lives in the plane crash."

“It was an unforgivable error ... one person cannot be solely responsible for the plane crash," he said Tuesday, according to the news service.

All 176 passengers and crew members aboard the Ukrainian Airlines flight were killed last week after it was downed by Iranian ground-to-air fire last week.

The crash came after Iran launched a missile attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers in response to the drone strike by the United States that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force. 

For days, Iran denied that it was responsible for shooting down the Boeing passenger jet, even after intelligence in other countries revealed its responsibility.

The U.S. and Iran have backed off talk of war in recent days, though hundreds of U.S. troops remain ready to deploy to the region.