It took Tehran three days to admit it had accidentally downed a Ukrainian plane with 176 passengers on board
It took Tehran three days to admit it had accidentally downed a Ukrainian plane with 176
passengers on board, of whom dozens of Iranians, and people got mad. They took
to the streets of Tehran and other cities and shouted slogans against the
authorities, also calling for the resignation of the dictator, a hint at the
Iranian supreme leader, the ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The spokesperson for the Iranian Government, Ali
Rabii, has stated that nobody tried to hide the truth, but the initial
statements were based on information that showed no connection between the
plane crash and a missile, as it was proven later. According to the Iranian
authorities, it was just an error caused by the tensions between Iran and the
US, the latter being expected to potentially retaliate.
escalated after the killing on January 3rd, by the US, of the
Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, a division
primarily responsible for the external operations of the Islamic Revolutionary
Guard. Tehran promised to revenge the death of its general and, shortly after,
several missiles were shot in Baghdad, in the Green Zone,where the US
embassy is also located.
The killing of
Soleimani, seen as the second most important person in Tehran after the
spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, was an action meant to put an end to a war, and
not to start another, the US president explained, saying that Soleimani was
preparing attacks on several US embassies.
Speaking on Radio
Romania, Ovidiu Raetchi, a specialist in Middle East issues, made an analysis
of the current situation;
massive evidence that the plane was actually downed forced the regime to assume
responsibility for the attack. Now, the government has to manage a domestic
crisis. Iranians are very sensitive to suffering, that's how Shiites are, this
is how their religion is defined, in the face of unjust death. Therefore, there will be genuine riots,
beyond any other type of uprising that Iran's adversaries are interested in
fostering. I believe there will be a year full of uprisings, first of all
because the population has started to react to what the government did. The
Iranian people is an educated people, they are very sensitive and the sense of justice
is in their blood. They understand that the US, Israel, maybe the West, maybe
Russia, or China, are interested in encouraging such protests, because the best
way to get rid of Iran's snaking around the Middle East, around Saudi Arabia,
around Israel, is to sever the head. The body of the snake is so tight in Gaza,
Lebanon, Syria, around Israel, Yemen and Iraq, that it will take years to
remove it. So, the best way to do that is to encourage a change in the regime.
We will see what China has to say about that and what Vladimir Putin's stand
will be. I believe that, in the medium and long run, Russia will be winning.
What China will do, is debatable. It is a major player, who does not really
want the US to take a step forward in the Middle East, so the Chinese interests
might relate to a non-revolutionary and rather quiet Iran."
pleading for national reconciliation, president Hassan Rouhani called for a
major change in the way in which Iran is being governed, implicitly admitting
that the tragedy caused by the downing
of the Ukrainian plane triggered a trust crisis. What will come next? Is the
conflict going to escalate, or it will die slowly?; and which will be the stand
of the US on this matter?
Here is analyst Ovidiu Raetchi again:
Donald Trump approach, as we saw it, including in the relation with North
Korea, tells us that from now on we will see the negotiator, seductive side of
the US president. The problem is whether Iran will allow itself to hold talks
with the US, given that domestic protests are growing. If the domestic fight
continues, the ayatollahs' solution will be to destabilize the Middle East. One
of the reasons why people are protesting, beyond everything that's happened to
the plane, is the discontent for the way in which people live in Iran. The
protests had already started before this crisis, they actually started in
autumn, for economic reasons."
negotiations might focus on a nuclear deal. Tehran would accept some very
clear limits and control under certain terms, and would also renounce its
aggressive policy with regard to the Shiite area, Ovidiu Raetchi believes. In
exchange for that, sanctions might be eased.