NEW information has shown that the Iranian government knew a missile had brought down the Ukrainian International Airways plane carrying 176 persons on 8 January but deliberately lied about it.
A leaked audio record of a conversation between Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iranian pilot aired on Ukrainian television channel on Sunday revealed that the two could be overhead as the pilot manning a Fokker 100 jet for Iran’s Aseman Airlines from southern Iranian city of Shiraz to Tehran told the controller he had seen lights from what seemed to be a missile.
“A series of lights like … yes, it is a missile, is there something?” the pilot inquired of the controller.
“No, how many miles? Where?” the controller asked.
The pilot had reported sighting the light by Payam airport, near where the IRGC’s Tor M-1 anti-aircraft missile was launched from.
When the controller was heard saying that nothing has been reported to them the pilot insistently claimed that it was the light of a missile.
“Don’t you see anything anymore?” the controller asks.
“Dear engineer, it was an explosion. We saw a very big light there, I don’t really know what it was,” the pilot responds.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s President have acknowledged the recording’s authenticity as part of the recordings made available to the Ukrainian by the Iran government.
Iran had refused to take blames for the crash for days before videos showing a missile hit the plane emerged on the Internet days after the incident.
Iranian authorities, according to a Reuters report has condemned the publication of the recording as “unprofessional and strange”, saying it was part of a confidential report.
“This action by the Ukrainians makes us not want to give them any more evidence,” said an Iranian official charged with investigations in the Iranian AviationOrganisation.
Since Iran accepted responsibility for bringing down the aircraft in what it had called a ‘disastrous mistake’, it has refused to have the craft BlackBox examined outside of Iran or accept assistance from countries like the United Kingdom or the United States even when it was revealed the country did not lack the necessary equipment to read the box.
Other countries that lost nationals in the crash are yet to make any comment since the release of the recording.