Iran: The aftermath of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash


It was on January 8th, that the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, just a little while after taking off, from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, heading to Kiev, crashed, causing a massive explosion and the death of 176 passengers.

As it proved some days later, the (IRGC), Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, was responsible for this tragedy, as they accidentally shot down the plane while they thought it was a cruise missile. Iran previously rejected all suggestions stemming from intelligence agencies, when it finally admitted responsibility for the tragedy.

But even after admitting it, those lies came to pile up to the damage already done, thus, causing frustration and huge anger among Iranians. This event led to wide protests in Tehran, that the IRGC responded back using violence, exactly as it happened before during December of 2019, when hundreds of people were killed while protesting against poverty and financial conditions.

What is extremely serious considering the aftermath of the political condition, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, is the fact that in previous demonstrations taking place in the streets of Teheran, the crowd was mostly formed by working-class Iranians. Now that changed! It was the first time that middle-class Iranians, together with students, formed a united group and came out in the streets protesting with anger, due to the situation in Iran, and the cause was ofcourse the tragedy of the plane crash Flight 752 of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight.

It was only a week earlier, that Iran had national mourning due to the assassination of Qasem Suleimani, their most prominent figure and architect of the conditions existing in the area for years, head of the IRGC's foreign operations.

When Iranians gathered a couple of days ago, to protest against this "accident" that caused the lives of 176 people, their sorrow was turned to major anger for the IRGC. Some of them, ripped General's Qasem Suleimani portrait off the walls. This is really indicative of the anger among Iranians, that piled up for years now, due to the financial condition that proved to be extremely restrictive and hopeless for the people. But who could ever believe that those people would turn against their most prominent political figure who also appeared in video clips like a rock star, the man who was responsible for the external policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran for years, the poor boy that represented all the suffering classes in his country, providing them with the strength to fight against external mingling in their own country?

But as it proves, civilians cannot ever follow another man's dreams, or their own governments' ones when they suffer. A conclusion that tends to prove globally if one takes a look at recent political incidents (Evo Morales in Bolivia).

So that means, that clerics in Iran, are finding themselves in a most difficult position after years, as many students and middle class civilians, together with working class, start to believe that their regime stands on the brink of an unprecedented change. Many prominent members of the Iranian nomenklatura, opposed openly to the government and to Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader. This possibly, indicates the coming of a new era for Iran's regime. People are angry with officials who misled the media, before finally admitting this accident.

But what is extremely eerie and frightening to think about, is to make a comparison between the plane crash in Iran, and the one happened in July of 2014, in eastern Ukraine, when  a Boeing of the Malaysian airlines, flight MH17, crashed in the area of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. 298 people lost their lives. The plane took off from Holland's Amsterdam and was heading to Kuala Lumpur, but crashed in that area of Ukraine, due to a soviet missile, as there was a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Ofcourse Russia denied all responsibility, exactly as Iran would have done if it wasn't for the intelligence agencies to be so full of proofs in the case of Iran, but not with Russia...

And that leads us to one very important conclusion. Flights of high risk, passing through conflict zones, have the danger of accidents like those ones, causing the loss of innocent people and making tragedies acquire a new meaning, one that sorrow and anger and the question "why?",  is not enough to define. But what it also proves, is that the previous accident of the Malaysian airlines, teached nothing to governments, to intelligence agencies and western states, about how to protect people, except for throwing themselves in a blame game as they know best how to deal with that only. Canada, declared a really strict position against Iran for this accident that caused among others the loss of many Canadians. But which western state, was ready enough to deal with the high risk possibility of an accident likes this one to happen? Who remembered the Malaysian airlines plane crash and was ready to expect and deal with similar accidents? What happened to intelligence agencies except for pointing out responsibilities? Is that all they can do? Showing responsibility and insisting on it when necessary, and not when not necessary?

The aftermath of the political condition in Iran, will mean a lot for the transformation of the politics considering clerics and Khamenei. And that, will also lead to a new dynamic with the relations to the West. And that, will not happen without a political explosion in the area. But what is important to remember, is that we reached globally a point of political recession, where noone trusts anybody, and that recession, will last longer than the economic one. This political recession is actually worst, because it proves that between conflict zones, taking care of people is not a priority. And that!, is something noone should forget, or become a supporter of the blame game that big powers tend to play. For these accidents, there are more than one responsible players. Preventing it or not doing it, seems to be the same, after a point when there are already previous examples, and no power seems to put people in the priority list of their political agenda!

                                                  written by Themis Panagiotopoulou, PhD in Political Science

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