The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) accepts full responsibility for the downing of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 flight 752 near Tehran, according to Commander of IRGC Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh.
Hajizade says he "wished he was dead" once he learned about the passenger plane downing.
The general also explained that the Iranian air defense system mistook the jetliner for a cruise missile, while the launch operator had issues with communications.
The official explained that the operator was obliged to report the possible target but his communication system was "clearly faulty" so he could not contact supervisors.
The operator had only five seconds to react and "unfortunately, he made the wrong decision, the missile was launched, and it hit the target," said Hajizadeh.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Iran admitted that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner that it mistook for a threat during hostilities with the U.S., marking a dramatic reversal after insisting that the deadly crash was caused by mechanical failure.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the accidental downing of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing flight PS752 was a "disastrous" and "unforgivable" mistake.
UNIAN memo: Kyiv-bound UIA flight PS752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport in the early hours of Wednesday, January 8. It was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members on board. Two passengers and the crew members were Ukrainians. There were also 82 citizens of Iran, 63 citizens of Canada, 10 citizens of Sweden, four citizens of Afghanistan, three citizens of Germany and the United Kingdom each. There were no survivors.