On January 9, 2021, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded accountability from Iran for the accidental downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 one year prior. He accused Iran of shielding the Revolutionary Guards from culpability. “Iran’s own investigation revealed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the plane with two surface-to-air missiles,” he said. “Yet, a year later, members of the IRGC have yet to be held accountable for taking the lives of 176 innocent civilian passengers and crew onboard.”
The incident occurred early on January 8, 2020, hours after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force. The crew and passengers included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals. After three days of denying responsibility, Iran admitted that it had accidentally downed the plane.
In December 2020, Iran created a compensation fund to provide $150,000 to each victim’s family. But Ukraine’s foreign ministry criticized Iran’s handling of the lengthy investigation “unacceptable.” Kiev called for a detailed report on the incident and bilateral negotiations over the compensation amount. The following is Pompeo’s statement marking the first anniversary of the flight’s downing.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
"The American people honor the memory of the passengers and crew of Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752, whose lives were abruptly and senselessly taken one year ago by an unjustified Iranian shootdown. The United States joins the Governments of Ukraine, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Afghanistan in paying tribute to, and calling for justice for, the victims of this atrocious tragedy.
"Iran’s own investigation revealed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the plane with two surface-to-air missiles. Yet, a year later, members of the IRGC have yet to be held accountable for taking the lives of 176 innocent civilian passengers and crew onboard. Instead, throughout this prolonged investigation, the regime has continued to protect those in the IRGC who were responsible. We look forward to the day the Iranian authorities values the lives of the Iranian people with the same zeal with which they now cover for their officials' misdeeds.
"We extend our wish for peace and strength to the families and loved ones of the victims, as we express our condolences again to those who continue to grieve their loss."