Iran’s top diplomat has acknowledged that Iranians “were lied to” for days following the Islamic Republic accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing 176 people.
The admission came as the country’s president warned that European soldiers in the Mideast “could be in danger” after three nations challenged Tehran over breaking limits of its nuclear deal.
The comments by Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi represent the first time an Iranian official referred to the earlier story that a technical malfunction downed the Ukraine International Airlines flight as a lie.
Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks in a televised Cabinet meeting represent the first direct threat he’s made to Europe as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington over President Donald Trump withdrawing the US from the deal in May 2018.
The shootdown has sparked days of angry protests in the country.
“In the last few nights, we’ve had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days,” Zarif said.
Zarif went onto praise Iran’s military for being “brave enough to claim responsibility early on.”
However, he said that he and President Hassan Rouhani only learned that a missile had down the flight on Friday, raising new questions over how much power Iran’s civilian government has in its Shiite theocracy.