On the 3rd of January Iran and its allies reacted with outrage over the killing of General Qasem Soleimani. In the political ramble that ensued short afterwards, Iran vowed to take revenge over the IRGC’s Quds Force leader’s death. Needless to say, Iran had to show some form of reaction in order not to loose face.
And so it did on January the 8th of 2020. Early in the mourning Iran launched attacks at US military targets in retaliation for the drone attack that killed General Qasem Soleimani and other high ranking targets. Iran didn’t hide the fact that it was them that fired the missiles and even mentioned that they were cluster warhead missiles according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, which hold close ties with ran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
This was Iran’s way to make a statement, but shortly after this statement a Ukrainian airliner crashed (Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752).
At this current moment the US and Canada have stated that the airplane has been downed by Iranian missiles. The scenario that seems to be most likely is that Iran expected the US to react after their initial missile launch, and has mistaken the airplane for a military target. Iran denies this.
Regardless of the fact if this airplane was really downed by Iranian missiles or not it shows a major security problem globally for commercial flights. In 2014 a similar situation during the conflict in Eastern Ukraine led to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in which 298 people died. Just as Iran, Russia has denied any responsibility for shooting down this plane. And any clarity on who and how may take some time. But it shows an underlying problem that needs to be addressed by the international community but also by states such as Iran.
On-board of flight PS752 were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from Sweden, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany. Iran has now invited Canada to participate in the investigation as is customary. It shows, that despite the political rhetoric of war and conflict, an aspect of normal civilian life in which we trade and interact with each other.
The downing of Flight PS752 is a direct consequence of Iran’s policies. And is yet another setback for Iran over the past few months. Iran has several internal problems, one of them is Baluchestan. A province that still wants independence from Iran. It is one of the reasons why the Iranian administration is having the ambition of becoming a nuclear power, a deterrence against foreign intervention. However, Iran’s current agenda and policies are not paying of as intended. Instead of civilian casualties in states such as Syria and Iraq this has hit home. It shows once again that maybe Iran needs to reconsider its policies and intentions.
Terrorism doesn’t pay off, even if it is state-sponsored terrorism.