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Iran Lawmakers Say IRGC Downing Of Airliner 'A Mistake By A Family Member'

Iranian lawmakers holding pictures of slain Iran's Qods Force leader Qassem Soleimani as they chant 'death to America', during a parliament session in Tehran, January 7, 2020

Iranian legislators have insisted in a statement that "the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) downing of a Ukrainian airliner outside Tehran" was a "family member's mistake," and they would not allow "enemies" to "exploit it" in their favor.

The statement, signed by 186 members of Majles and read out in the Iranian parliament on Sunday, has praised the IRGC in full length. The occasion was a speech by IRGC top commander Hossein Salami during the closed-door session.

Meanwhile, it has thanked the IRGC for accepting responsibility for downing the plane that killed all 176 onboard.

After three days of denials about its role in the catastrophe, the IRGC finally accepted responsibility on January 11.

"The IRGC's admission was deeply heartwarming," the statement reiterated.

The downing of the plane happened shortly after Iran launched missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq and IRGC says that air defense crews thought the plane was an American cruise missile responding to the attack.

However, critics say that if Iran was expecting a U.S. military response, why it did not suspend civilian flights. IRGC has tried to shirk that responsibility by saying it is not in charge of closing the airspace. General Salami apparently repeated that argument during his appearance at parliament, according to a lawmaker.

However, parliament members showered the Revolutionary Guard with praise for launching missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq, saying it “was highly praiseworthy."

According to the Islamic Republic government's official news agency (IRNA), the speaker of Majles, Ali Larijani, has asked the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission to seriously investigate the causes behind the apparent error that led to missiles to be fired at the passenger plane, and make sure that similar "mistakes" would not occur in the future.

In the meantime, an ultraconservative lawmaker Mohammad Javad Abtahi, has disclosed that since France, Germany, and the U.K. supported the killing of the IRGC Qods Force Chief Commander Qassem Soleimani, several legislators, were compiling a parliamentary motion to limit the diplomatic relations with the said governments and restrict it to consular level.

General Salami also tried to justify the delay for disclosing how the airliner crashed. "We were investigating the case, and that was why it took two days to admit the mistake," Salami maintained.

In fact, it took three days for the IRGC to finally admit the responsibility for the downing that killed 176 crew members and passengers.

Earlier, Salami had expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that shooting down the Ukraine Airlines plane had overshadowed the importance of the "IRGC's courageous attacks on the U.S. bases in the Iraqi territory."