UPDATE: Iran has since confirmed that the Ukrainian jetliner was, in fact, unintentionally shot down by a missile in a devastating case of “human error” after flying too close to defense installations at a time when the country was on high alert over increased tensions with the US.
In response to reports citing anonymous US officials who claim a Ukrainian plane was hit by an Iranian missile and Trump’s claim that he has “suspicions” about the crash, Iran is calling the allegations “illogical rumors.”
Officials from Iran, Ukraine and the United States are all speaking out today and lending their theories on what was behind that deadly plane crash near Tehran.
President Trump told reporters on Thursday that he has his suspicions about what was really behind the crash, claiming he believes it was caused by more than just a mechanical problem.
His comments come as a report from NBC News, citing anonymous sources, claims US intelligence officials have evidence that the Ukraine International Airlines jetliner was downed by an Iranian missile.
The devastating plane crash came hours after Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting two military bases in Iraq that house US troops, in retaliation for the US killing Iran’s top military general.
While Iran has denied any involvement and the cause of the plane crash has yet to be confirmed, the report claimed US officials gathered their evidence from spy satellites, which showed that everything was normal on the plane up until it dropped off the radar, raising questions about whether it was the target of an attack.
Iran was quick to respond, calling the clams that the plane was hit by one of its missiles scientifically impossible and the result of illogical rumors.
Investigators from Iran revealed on Thursday that the Boeing 737-800 jet was on fire and was attempting to return to the airport in Tehran when it crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 176 people on board.
In a statement, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization said, “The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash.
Investigators claim the plane reached 8,000 feet before it disappeared from radar, and the crew made no attempt to call for help before the crash. The plane was supposed to land in Kyiv, and although there were initially concerns over whether Iran would allow other investigators to have access to the plane’s black box, Ukraine has confirmed that it sent a team of 45 experts to Tehran on Thursday, where they will work to investigate the black boxes and to identify the bodies of the victims. Investigators from Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council have also said they have not ruled out an attack.
And in a post on their website, they said they are considering a number of possible causes for the crash, including an anti-aircraft missile strike, collision with a drone, an engine explosion, or even a blast inside the aircraft, stemming from a terrorist attack.
However, Iran has maintained that the crash was likely caused by a technical failure, with one official saying, “Rumors about the incident being a terrorist attack, explosion or shooting at the plane are not true.
It is no secret tensions are still high between the US and Iran, and these latest claims from US officials that Iran was responsible for the plane crash before an official confirmation, will likely add fuel to the fire in an already hostile situations