The Newswire TSN-Tyzhden has released control tower communications from Tehran Airport proving that Iran was aware of the missile launch that fatally shot down UIA fight PS752.
According to news wire services, the record proves that the Iranians saw the missile from the moment it was launched and to the very moment it hit the Ukrainian plane.
The intercepted communications released by TSN concern a dialogue between Tehran Airport control tower and the second pilot of Iran’s Aseman Airlines flight at the time of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752.
The release of the data drew an immediate response from the Iranian authorities who said they will no longer be sharing evidence from the investigation into the Ukraine airliner crash with Ukraine. The director in charge of accident investigations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said that the audio file was evidence that was given to Ukrainian experts as part of the joint investigative team’s examination of the crash.
“The technical investigation team of the Ukrainian airline crash, in a strange move, published the secret audio file of the communications of a pilot of a plane that was flying at the same time as the Ukrainian plane,” Hassan Rezaifar said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.
“This action by the Ukrainians led to us not sharing any more evidence with them.”
The audio recordings show that the Iranian civilian plane’s pilot saw both the missile launch and the blast.
“But most importantly, the record shows that Iranian airline services didn’t simply conceal the true cause of the UIA plane crash. The record proves that the Iranians saw the missile from the moment of launch and to the very moment it hit the Ukrainian plane,” the TSN report says.
The Ukraine Airlines flight PS752 took off from Tehran Airport at 6:20 on January 8, 2020. At the same time, the Iranian flight Shiraz-Tehran, EP3768, operated by Aseman Airlines was preparing to land in Tehran.
In about three minutes, an Iranian pilot saw a missile being launched. The following is a complete transcript of intercepted communications between Tehran tower and flight 3768 (including a bit between tower and PS752). The recording time is 05:12
Tower: – Good morning, Ukraine International Airlines 752 (inaudible), departure identified alt 260, climb to 6000 feet, turn right to Paroch.
Tower: – After 6000 feet to Paroch.
Pilot EP3768: – We are approaching from the north, 3768. Tower: – Good morning, 3768.
Tower: – Aseman 3768 (inaudible), identify 3343 left, level 110.
Pilot EP3768: – Flight 3768, come in.
Pilot EP3768: – We are approaching from the north, 3768. Pilot EP3768: – No, sir?
Pilot EP3768: – Zone 320, active for passage?
Tower: – GPS (inaudible).
Pilot EP3768: – Flares on route, as if from a missile. Should anything like this be happening there?
Tower: – Zone 320? How many miles away? Where? EP3768 Pilot: – Can’t say for sure. But I think it is near (air field) Payam, (city) Karaj.
Tower: – How many miles? Where?
Pilot EP3768: – I now see the light as it flies off of there. Tower: – We were not informed of this.
Tower: – How does it look like? What does this light look like?
Pilot EP3768: – That surely is the light from a missile. Tower: – It’s not flying toward the city (Tehran), is it?
Pilot EP3768: – It might be… Oh, no it was flying from the direction of the city.
Tower: – We were informed nothing, but keep watching. Pilot EP3768: – Okay. I’m getting on the landing course. Tower: – “Ukraine International Airlines” 752, do you read? Tower: – “Ukraine International Airlines” 752, do you read? Tower: – “Ukraine International Airlines” 752, do you read?! (message repeated several times from 02:27 to 04:25, unanswered)
Tower: – “Aseman” 3768, 9000 (inaudible), landing course. Tower: – “Aseman” 3768, everything, you see nothing else up there?
Pilot EP3768: – Mr engineer, we saw an explosion, a big flare from the explosion, we don’t understand what it is. Tower: – We don’t know for sure…
Pilot EP3768: – Is our course OK? Tower: – Yes, I don’t think there will be any problem for you.
Pilot EP3768: – God forbid!”
On the morning on January 8, a Ukrainian passenger jet operated by Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752 Tehran-Kyiv crashed shortly after takeoff from the Tehran airport. All 167 passengers and nine crew on board died in the crash. The whole crew and two passengers were Ukrainian citizens. The next day, 45 Ukrainian experts in various fields took off to Tehran to examine the circumstances of the incident. All Ukrainian carriers suspended flights in the airspace of Iran and Iraq pending the result of the probe.
From the outset, the Iranians said that it was a technical issue that caused the crash. However, on the evening of January 9, several leading U.S. editions and TV channels reported that the Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines had been mistakenly shot down by Iran shortly after taking off from Tehran Airport. Photos of video footage showing missiles that could have downed the plane, as well as video of the moment of the crash, were shared on social media and made it to global news. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, citing intelligence and allies, said the plane was hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. U.S. President Donald Trump called the plane crash suspicious, adding that he believed that the plane could crash over certain “mistakes” made in Iran. The next day, Ukrainian experts, who worked at the scene and eventually gained access to the wreckage of the jet’s front part, also found evidence of the missile hit.
On the morning of January 11, Iran officially acknowledged that the Ukrainian passenger jet was downed by a missile. The official statement said that the tragedy had happened as a result of a “human error”. The civilian plane was mistaken for a hostile object after it turned toward a military facility operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Ukraine has said that it expects Iran to fully acknowledge the guilt for downing the UIA plane, investigate the incident, and repatriate the bodies of victims. Key information that has yet to be revealed is which individuals at the missile launch site actually launched the surface to air missiles.