The Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, which crashed in Tehran, Iran, on January 8, 2020, was allegedly shot down by an Iranian air defense system, presumably by mistake, according to several media quoting official sources.
The flight PS752 took off from Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA), in Tehran, Iran. Operated by a Boeing 737-800, registration number UR-PSR, it was bound to Kyiv, Ukraine. Approximately 10 minutes after takeoff the airplane crashed near the airport, killing all 176 occupants.
Preliminary reports pointed to a technical problem with one of the two CFMI CFM56 engines. However, three U.S. official sources quoted by Newsweek say the aircraft was struck by a Russian-made Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system (known by NATO as SA-15 Gauntlet), likely by mistake. U.S. intelligence also told CBC that a satellite detected infrared signals of two missile launches. The Guardian reported similar suspicion from British intelligence.
In the context of escalating tensions between Iran and the United States, missile defense systems were likely active around Tehran. During the night of January 7, 2019, the Iranian military launched over 12 missiles on U.S. bases in Iraq, in reprisal of the death of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian special services, in a drone strike.
Since hours after the crash, unconfirmed images from the crash site showing debris of that specific missile have been circulated on social media. The photos led the Ukrainian investigators to request to inspect the crash site themselves for more possible debris. “We use all the experience of investigating the attack on the Boeing MH-17 to establish the truth in the case of the Ukrainian aircraft crash in Tehran,” Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, declared.