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Iran's Zarif Admits People Are Angry For Being Lied To About Plane Crash

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif addressing Raisina Dialogue 2020 in New Delhi, India. January 15, 2020

Iran's Foreign Minister on Wednesday admitted that Iranians are angry because they were lied to regarding regarding the real cause of a plane crash January 8, that killed 176 passengers and crew.

While the Iranian military knew it had shot down the plane, authorities kept denying they fired an anti-aircraft missile, for three days.

“We’ve had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days,” Mohammad-Javad Zarif said at the Raisina Dialogue, an annual foreign policy conference in New Delhi. He added: "But people are angry even with those two days. That is the expectation that people have with the government that the government should have disclosed the information".

Commenting on the reason for the tragedy Zarif blamed it on the crisis following the targeted killing of the Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani by the United States on January 3 and said: "People make mistakes, unforgivable mistakes. But it happened in the times of a crisis. We need to make sure that this crisis will be prevented".

The Iranian Foreign Minister also called the military forces "brave enough to claim responsibility early on" but made it clear that the government had been kept in the dark about the Revolutionary Guard's responsibility for the missile or missiles launched at the plane. "I, as a foreign minister, and the president, we didn't know until Friday afternoon," he said.

In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday President Hassn Rouhani who had also called the downing of the plane an "unforgivable mistake" and called for a special court to probe the matter said compensating for the mistake should not result in weakening the armed forces because the country needs them to defend itself.