World Influential Iranians break ranks with state after Ukrainian jet downing

12:42  19 january  2020
12:42  19 january  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

Iran calls on Canada to hand over information on crashed Ukrainian plane

  Iran calls on Canada to hand over information on crashed Ukrainian plane Iran called on Canada on Thursday to share its information with Tehran about the Ukrainian plane after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa had intelligence indicating it was hit by an Iranian missile. © ASSOCIATED PRESS Rescue workers search the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. A Ukrainian airplane with more than 170 people crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Tehran's main airport, killing all onboard.

Iran has admitted "unintentionally" shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet , killing all 176 people The downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 on Wednesday came just hours after What explanation did Iran give? On Saturday morning, an Iranian military statement read on state TV

Iran also invited Boeing, the jet ’s manufacturer, to help investigate the black box, a government spokesman said, according to Iran ’s official news Mr. Zelensky also sought to pre-empt criticism of the Ukrainian authorities for allowing the flight to take off soon after the Iranian attacks on American

LONDON — A slew of influential Iranian artists, television personalities and sports stars have publicly broken with Tehran after the government denied for days that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane last week.

Pompeo confirms Iran suspected in plane crash

  Pompeo confirms Iran suspected in plane crash “We do believe that it’s likely that plane was shot down by an Iranian missile,” he told reporters in a press briefing.“We do believe that it’s likely that plane was shot down by an Iranian missile,” he told reporters in a press briefing at the White House on Friday. “We're going to let the investigation play out before we make a final determination. It's important that we get to the bottom of it.

Iranian state television said both of the plane's black box voice and data recorders had been found. The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted the head of Iran 's civil aviation organisation as Iranian TV put the crash down to unspecified technical problems, and Iranian media quoted a local aviation

The crash of a Ukrainian jetliner that killed 176 people in Iran touched off mourning Wednesday in both Ukraine and Canada — where many The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage

"Apologies for lying to you for 13 years," Gelareh Jabbari, a host on the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting TV network, wrote Monday in an Instagram post. The post has since been deleted but was seen by NBC News.

"It was very hard for me to believe our people have been killed, forgive me for believing this late," added Jabbari, the anchor of the lifestyle show, "Good Morning Iran," in an apparent reference to the 82 Iranians who were among the 176 passengers and crew members killed.

Iran initially denied that a missile had struck the plane last Wednesday shortly after it took off from Tehran, the capital, only to reverse course on Saturday and admit that it had shot the plane down by mistake.

Many students and middle-class Iranians took to the streets in protest. In Tehran, some students refused to trample on paintings of U.S. and Israeli flags in an apparent rejection of the government's attempts to deflect blame.

Presidents of Ukraine, Iran to discuss downed plane -Ukrainian official

  Presidents of Ukraine, Iran to discuss downed plane -Ukrainian official Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is set to hold a telephone call with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Saturday after Tehran said it had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, the Ukrainian president's office said.The Ukrainian passenger airplane travelling to Kiev crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

Ukraine ’s diplomatic mission in Iran cautioned against premature speculation about the crash. “Any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the decision of the [investigative] commission are not official,” their statement said later on Wednesday. Radar data showed the 737-800 crashing

MORE: Iran says it 'unintentionally' shot down Ukrainian airliner. Last week, after Soleimani was targeted by the U.S., Iranian state media reported a sense of unity among the Iranian people as millions "Shame on you for not being able to distinguish a fighter jet from a passenger plane

Those in more influential positions used their sway to send a message.

Prominent Iranian movie director Masoud Kimiai and popular actors Navid Mohamadzadeh and Taraneh Alidoosti were among several filmmakers, actors and musicians who announced they were boycotting the upcoming Fajr film and theater festivals in the wake of the plane's downing.

In a statement picked up by the liberal newspaper Arman Melli, they were among 14 directors, actors and musicians who offered their condolences to those who lost family members.

According to the newspaper, the statement also criticized the authorities and demanded they explain to the nation the delay in admitting responsibility for shooting the plane down.

Alidoosti, one of Iran's most popular actors who starred in the Oscar-nominated "The Salesman," told her 5.8 million followers on Instagram Sunday that "we are not citizens, we are captives, millions of captives." This Instagram post was also seen by NBC News before being deleted.

Protests Erupt in Iran after Military Admits Downing Ukrainian Passenger Jet: "Death to the Dictator"

  Protests Erupt in Iran after Military Admits Downing Ukrainian Passenger Jet: Protesters in Iran are demanding that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei steps down, after the country's military admitted to accidentally downing a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board. © Getty Images/BORNA GHASSEMI/ISNA/AFP A child's shoe is pictured on January 8, 2020 at the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed shortly after take-off near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran. Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after leaving Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday.

Iranian civil aviation authorities, however, have ruled out the theory, saying no missile debris was found at the crash site. “Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumours are illogical,” Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran 's of Civil Aviation Organization, said on Thursday, was

Iran admits shooting down Ukrainian airliner 'unintentionally' – state TV. The vast majority of the crash victims were Iranians or Iranian -Canadians, however, and it came just weeks after authorities quashed nationwide protests ignited by a hike in fuel prices.

The government's handling of the incident has only served to "confirm an existing sense of moral bankruptcy that the Islamic Republic is accused of," said Afshin Shahi, an associate professor in Middle East politics at Bradford University.

"The Islamic Republic is facing the worst legitimacy crisis in its 40-year history, and the pressures are mounting from every angle," he said, adding that state repression, censorship and the country's economic woes in the last three years had created a profound sense of disillusionment. "The gap between the state and society has widened to an extreme extent."

In a sign of how seriously Iranian authorities are taking the backlash, the organization responsible for Friday prayers announced that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would deliver a sermon at this Friday's prayers. The last time Khamenei spoke at the service was eight years ago to mark the annual 10 days of celebrations of the 1979 revolution that overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

As for allegations of repression, Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesperson for Iran's mission to the United Nations, told NBC News that "Iranian citizens are free to express their opinions, as has been witnessed over the last months. And they are free to seek or refuse employment as they wish."

'Inspiring': Trump tweets in Farsi to speak directly to Iranian people protesting regime

  'Inspiring': Trump tweets in Farsi to speak directly to Iranian people protesting regime President Trump sent out a tweet in Farsi telling Iranians protesting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that he stands behind them. © Provided by Washington Examiner“To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring,” Trump said. به مردم شجاع و رنج کشیده ایران: من از ابتدای دوره ریاست جمهوریم با شما ایستاده‌ام و دولت من همچنان با شما خواهد ایستاد. ما اعتراضات شما را از نزدیک دنبال می کنیم. شجاعت شما الهام بخش است.— Donald J.

Evidence suggests an Iranian missile brought down a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran, possibly in error, Western leaders say. Canada and the UK called for a full and thorough investigation into the crash, which killed all 176 people on board. Iran 's civil aviation chief, however

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Tehran to Kiev operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA).

"It is only natural that in a nation of over 80 million people, there will always be a wide range of opinions," he added. "In recent days, the government has very clearly and repeatedly apologized in the aftermath of the Ukrainian Airlines tragedy. The government has also pledged a full investigation, and to hold those responsible to account for this mistake."

According to Human Rights Watch, Iranians have experienced "rampant violations" by security forces and the judiciary. In recent years, it said, authorities have tightened their grip on peaceful activism by detaining lawyers and human rights defenders.

Over the decades, sporadic unrest has often been met with a harsh response.

In 2009, the government suppressed the so-called Green Movement that drew millions to the streets in the wake of a disputed presidential election.

But protests in Iran have become more frequent and widespread over the past two years. They have coincided with harsh U.S. economic sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration after he pulled the United States out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

In November, large-scale protests sparked by a planned increase in gas prices drew mostly working-class demonstrators, who in the past have formed a bastion of support for the regime. During the protests the government shut down the internet for days, making it difficult to discern the scale of the demonstrations and the resulting crackdown.

Canada investigators to examine Iran crash wreckage later on Wednesday

  Canada investigators to examine Iran crash wreckage later on Wednesday Crash investigators from Canada have visited the site of an Iranian plane disaster in which 57 Canadians died and will examine the wreckage later on Wednesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said. © Reuters/CANDACE ELLIOTT Mourners attend a service in memory of the victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Iran The investigators have not yet been granted access to the flight and cockpit recorders, Garneau told a news conference.Iran has issued visas to a team of Canadian officials, including two specialists from the Transportation Safety Board who are in Tehran to probe how and why Iran on Jan.

Fresh protests in Iran over downing of Ukrainian jet . No preconditions for successful revolution. No wave of protest after the downing of the plane. The most recent protests after the shooting down of the Ukrainian passenger jet began at two Tehran universities, where vigils were held for the victims.

The Ukrainian plane was shot down in Tehran as Iranian forces were on alert for possible U.S He added that Iranian experts who retrieved the Ukrainian plane’s flight recorder, the so-called black The incident raised questions about why Iran did not shut down its international airport or airspace

But Amnesty International reported that more than 300 people had been killed in the protests, and the United States said the toll could have been more than 1,000.

The protests over the airliner, however, are "a watershed moment," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, who said the downing of the Ukrainian airliner had "become a national symbol of what Iranians suffer daily from government forces and the bureaucracy."

"People are completely fed up with the political system and the repression and especially in this case, the lies, cover-up and incompetence of their government," said Ghaemi, whose nonprofit seeks to document rights abuses in Iran.

The artistic boycott of the Fajr festivals and the actor Alidoosti's comments Sunday were examples of an "unprecedented" level of consensus among members of the artistic community in Iran who are disillusioned and frustrated with the Iranian state, said Shahi, the professor.

Traditionally, critics in Iran have made a distinction between more moderate members of the establishment and hard-liners, Shahi said. But this appears to be changing.

"What is interesting is that they have gone beyond the factional politics of the Islamic Republic and criticize the entirety of the system," Shahi said.

And then there are those who have defected in recent months.

Kimia Alizadeh, 21, who became the only woman from Iran to win an Olympic medal when she took bronze in taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, posted a scathing attack on Instagram on Saturday on the "hypocrisy" of Iran's administration. She implied in the post that she had left the country but did not say where.

In December, Iran's Chess Federation said top-rated champion Alireza Firouzja had decided not to play for Iran over its informal ban on competing against Israeli players. And three months earlier, the International Judo Federation said Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei had refused to return home over fears for his safety.

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said that it wasn't just well-known Iranians who had defected and that the brain drain was a well-established trend in Iran and across the Middle East.

"These tend to be people such as doctors and lawyers on the wealthier end of the spectrum with the ability to do so," he said.

But working-class Iranians have also voiced their discontent, and Shahi said many of them were also leaving, which he described as "muscle drain."

"Iran is suffering from the politics of hopelessness," he said.

Iran denies decision taken to send downed plane's black boxes abroad - IRNA .
IRAN-CRASH/ (URGENT):Iran denies decision taken to send downed plane's black boxes abroad - IRNA

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