After days of lying about the increasingly obvious, the Iranian regime admitted that it shot down the Ukrainian jetliner early this past Wednesday as it departed from Tehran. The current AP story on Iran’s admission includes mention of the ensuing protests that roiled the country last night:
In the face of mounting evidence, Iran on Saturday acknowledged that it shot down the Ukrainian jetliner by accident, killing all 176 people aboard. The admission by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard undermined the credibility of information provided by senior officials, who for three days had adamantly dismissed allegations of a missile strike as Western propaganda.
It also raised a host of new questions, such as why Iran did not shut down its international airport or airspace on Wednesday when it was bracing for the U.S. to retaliate for a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. No one was hurt in that attack, carried out in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.
Iran’s acknowledgment alters the narrative around its confrontation with the U.S. in a way that could anger the Iranian public. Iran had promised harsh revenge after Soleimani’s death, but instead of killing American soldiers, its forces downed a civilian plane in which most passengers were Iranian.
On Saturday night, hundreds gathered at universities in Tehran to protest the government’s late acknowledgement of the plane being shot down. They demanded officials involved in the missile attack be removed from their positions and tried. Police broke up the demonstrations.
Twitter proves its worth as a medium for such breaking news. For an eye on the protests, scroll down the tweets collected under the hashtag Iran protests. I have posted several that appeared toward the top as of about 6:00 a.m. (Central) this morning below.
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 11, 2020
— NCRI Women's Committee (@womenncri) January 12, 2020
Incredible video out of Iran!
While some people outside of Iran are beating their chests over Suleimani, here are Iranians tearing down a poster of Suleimani & Khamenei last night in Iran.
— 🏴☠️ FJ 🏴☠️ (@Natsecjeff) January 12, 2020
— Amiir (@phoeeboo) January 12, 2020
Billboards went up with Gen. Soleimani's photo around town. Iranians photoshop pictures of plane crash victim instead & share it widely.
"They departed so dreams don't die.."#IranProtests #UkranianPlaneCrash pic.twitter.com/qGsfek1uT1
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 12, 2020