Tuesday, 28 January, 2020

Iranian students hold vigils for Ukrainian plane crash victims

Several universities in the Iranian capital Tehran has been the scene of marches and rallies in remembrance for 176 people, many of them Iranian-Canadian students, who were killed on board a Ukrainian plane that crashed earlier this week just outside the Iranian capital Tehran.

The rallies held on Saturday at the campuses and outside major colleges in Tehran came hours after the Iranian armed forces headquarters issued a statement saying that the Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by Ukraine International Airlines was erroneously shot down on January 8 when it was on its way from Tehran to Kiev.

Students at universities of Amir Kabir, Sharif and Tehran held vigils and lit candles in remembrance of the victims of the crash. They held pictures of many of the victims who had studied in those universities before travelling to Canada to further their researches.

Some students were angry at the way the Iranian officials had informed the public on the cause of the crash as it happened just hours after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two US military bases in neighboring Iraq.

Authorities said the Ukrainian airliner had been mistaken with an adversarial cruise missile when it was shot down by an extra missile defense system deployed to the southwest of Tehran.

Students, however, were angry at the the delayed explanation, saying it had deeply hurt. Reports in Iranian media said police were forced to disperse some of the students who were protesting in front of the main gate of the Amir Kabir University.

Iran has vowed full cooperation with countries whose nationals were killed in the crash, especially Canada which had 63 citizens on board the plane.

Iranian authorities have promised the investigation into the incident would be inclusive and all those responsible for the tragedy will be held into account.

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