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'Human Error' Reason For Downing Of Airliner, Not Cyberattack, Iran Lawmaker Says

Mojtaba Zolnour, Chairman of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee says human error caused plane crash. FILE PHOTO.

The Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on Monday said "human error" was responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian plane in Tehran on January 8 and the possibility of a cyber-attack has been ruled out.

According to a report published by the Parliament news website, Mojtaba Zolnour, the Chairman of the Committee said military and civil aviation officials attended Sunday a special session to probe the crash incident.

Zolnour said in the meeting it was established that "human error" by the missile operator was responsible for the crash. The missile operator who targeted the plane took the decision to fire "on the basis of his own judgement".

Zolnour also said the possibility of electronic war and a cyber-attack causing the crash was also discussed and added: "This is out of the question so far, unless new information becomes available in the future to prove that there had been a cyberattack".

Earlier, several Iranian officials has suggested that a possible U.S. cyberattack might have played a role in the downing of the airliner.

Zolnour defended the Armed Forces against criticisms about concealing the reason for the plane crash and said those who make such criticism are neither aware of the level of expertise required in the process of examination of the crash nor of the time required for that.

The military admitted January 11 that it had known about a missile hitting the plane right after the incident.

According to Zolnour the Committee also heard the reasons for not stopping commercial flights in a tense situation after the attack on Iraqi bases that host U.S. troops hours before the crash. "It was predicted that the United States might react [to the Iranian missile attack] so all missile operators had been told to be fully prepared," he said and added that disruption of communication between the operator and the control and command network has not been proven yet.

The operator of the missile should not have fired without authorization even if there was no communication with the defense command and control, the Chairman of the National Security Committee said.