Things that make you go, “Hmmm …”:
- How do you confuse a scheduled airliner on takeoff with a cruise missile?
- How was the airliner “unidentified”?
- Does the Iranian air defense system actually work?
- Was there confusion that an adversary was flying next to the airliner?
It sounds like Iran, which is a regional industrial power, doesn’t have a functioning air traffic control system.
“Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Tehran to Kiev operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA). On 8 January 2020, the Boeing 737-800 operating the route was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport. All 176 passengers and crew were killed; it was the first fatal air accident for Ukraine International Airlines.”
“When the Revolutionary Guards officer spotted what he thought was an unidentified aircraft near Tehran’s international airport, he had seconds to decide whether to pull the trigger.
Iran had just fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at American forces, the country was on high alert for an American counterattack, and the Iranian military was warning of incoming cruise missiles.
The officer tried to reach the command center for authorization to shoot but couldn’t get through. So he fired an antiaircraft missile. Then another.
The plane, which turned out to be a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board, crashed and exploded in a ball of fire.”