Iran has admitted that it did shoot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, despite initially claiming it wasn’t responsible. After evidence was presented by way of video footage, the Iranian authorities said that the shooting was “unintentional”.
Hassan Rouhani, said in a statement:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences.”
The airline had previously said in a statement:
“We express profound sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. We share your pain, we mourn together with you, and we remember everyone whose life was taken away in the sky of Iran. We’ll make every effort to find out the cause of the tragedy and the families of the passengers and crew get all the help and support they need.”
Following the admission of responsibility from the Iranian Government, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, said that his country must be allowed to jointly investigate the incident.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has issued a joint statement with the leaders of France and Germany on the current situation in Iran. His announcement comes after the threat of violence and military action by Iran and the United States increased.
Johnson and the other leaders said:
“We have condemned the recent attacks on coalitions forces in Iraq and are gravely concerned by the negative role Iran has played in the region, including through the IRGC and the Al-Qods force under the command of General Soleimani.
There is now an urgent need for de-escalation. We call on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and responsibility. The current cycle of violence in Iraq must be stopped.”
The United States has admitted that it launched a military attack which killed Qasem Soleimani, a senior Iranian general. The attack made at Baghdad airport was authorised by Donald Trump, the President of the United States, in response to an attack on a US embassy.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, warned of “severe revenge” in response to the attacks. Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, urged restraint and said in a statement:
“We have always recognised the aggressive threat posed by the Iranian Quds force led by Qasem Soleimani. Following his death, we urge all parties to de-escalate. Further conflict is in none of our interests.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed that the British Government is concerned about the current situation with regards to Iran’s commitment to their previously stated intentions on their nuclear obligations.
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:
“Iran has broken the terms of the JCPoA, following its announcement that it will start uranium enrichment above the 3.67% limit agreed in the nuclear deal. While the UK remains fully committed to the deal, Iran must immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations. We are coordinating with other JCPoA participants regarding the next steps under the terms of the deal, including a Joint Commission.”
The UK, France, Germany and the European External Action Service have issued a joint statement on the current situation in Iran.
“The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, the UK, and the High Representative are extremely concerned at Iran’s announcement that it has exceeded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action stockpile limit for low enriched uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed this information.
We have been consistent and clear that our commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran. We regret this decision by Iran, which calls into question an essential instrument of nuclear non-proliferation.
We urge Iran to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal. We are urgently considering next steps under the terms of the JCPoA in close coordination with other JCPoA participants.”
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has set out some of the objectives of the Government as the G20 Summit starts in Osaka, Japan. She spoke of the need for international stability, the fight against extremism and also the challenges ahead to deal with environmental issues.
May said in a statement:
“With the threat of climate change putting future generations at risk, vile terrorist propaganda continuing to spread online, and rising tensions in the Gulf, this Summit is an opportunity for us to address critical global challenges affecting our nations.
The UK has never been afraid to defend our values and our interests, stand up for global rules and tackle difficult issues head on.
From our ambitious plans to protect the environment and our relentless fight against extremism in all its forms, to our promotion of free and fair trade and our world-leading international development expertise – we have consistently shaped global responses to the most pressing challenges of our time and called on others to step up and do more.
Undoubtedly there are issues facing us today on which our countries do not all take the same approach. But I firmly believe that progress will be greatest when we approach shared challenges in a spirit of genuine collaboration. As we have seen time and time again – we are always stronger when we work together.
And so my message to G20 leaders this week is this: it is only through international cooperation and compromise that we can protect our citizens’ security and prosperity and make the world a safer and a better place to live.
The international community must stand together against Iran’s deeply destabilising activity. Our priority should be the urgent de-escalation of tensions and we need to find a diplomatic solution to the current situation.”
Andrew Murrison, the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, has visited Iran as part of a tour of the region. The visit comes at a challenging diplomatic time given allegations made by the British and Americans about the involvement of Iran in damaging oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
In a statement Murrison said:
“This visit has provided an important opportunity for open, frank and constructive engagement with the Iranian Government. In Tehran I was clear about the UK’s long-held concerns over Iran’s activities in the region.
I reiterated the UK’s assessment that Iran almost certainly bears responsibility for recent attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Such activity, which carries a high risk of miscalculation, needs to stop to allow for immediate de-escalation of rising tensions. And I was clear that the UK will continue to play its full part alongside international partners to find diplomatic solutions to reduce the current tensions.
I reiterated the UK’s determination to maintain the nuclear deal which is in our shared security interests. I was clear that Iran must continue to meet its commitments under the deal in full – including the limits imposed on its low-enriched uranium stockpile.
While in Tehran, I also pressed again on behalf of the UK Government for the urgent and unconditional release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and all British-Iranian dual nationals who are being arbitrarily detained.”
The British Government has condemned the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman and said that it is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military was involved. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, also blamed the Iranians Government, but they have denied their involvement.
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, said in a statement:
“I condemn yesterday’s attacks on two vessels in the Gulf of Oman. Our own assessment leads us to conclude that responsibility for the attacks almost certainly lies with Iran. These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilising Iranian behaviour and pose a serious danger to the region.
In targeting civilian shipping, international norms have been violated. It is essential that tankers and crews are able to pass through international waters safely. We call on Iran urgently to cease all forms of destabilising activity. The UK remains in close coordination with international partners to find diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been given diplomatic protection. The unusual move is intended to secure the release of the joint UK-Iranian citizen who the British Government have claimed is being denied medical treatment.
Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:
“Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is an innocent woman who has spent the last three years in an Iranian jail, separated from her daughter and husband. We have been working hard to secure her release but despite repeated efforts have not been successful. We have not even been able to secure her the medical treatment she urgently needs despite assurances to the contrary.
So I have today decided that the UK will take a step that is extremely unusual and exercise diplomatic protection. This represents formal recognition by the British Government that her treatment fails to meet Iran’s obligations under international law and elevates it to a formal State to State issue.
I have not taken this decision lightly. I have considered the unacceptable treatment Nazanin has received over three years, including not just lack of access to medical treatment but also lack of due process in the proceedings brought against her. My decision is an important diplomatic step which signals to Tehran that its behaviour is totally wrong. It is unlikely to be a magic wand that leads to an overnight result. But it demonstrates to the whole world that Nazanin is innocent and the UK will not stand by when one of its citizens is treated so unjustly.
Iran is one of the oldest civilisations in the world. I know there are many in Iran who understand the unjustness of this situation. No government should use innocent individuals as pawns for diplomatic leverage so I call on Iran to release this innocent woman so she can be reunited with her family.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today issued a statement alongside numerous other European countries with regards to the current situation in Iran.
A spokesperson for the FCO said:
“The UK and a number of European partners today jointly raised with Iran our deep concerns about hostile activities and plots being planned and perpetrated in Europe. Such actions are unacceptable and must have consequences.
We informed the Iranian authorities that those responsible for the June 2018 bomb plot planned in France are being included on the EU list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts and will be subject to restrictive measures.
We also condemned other illegal activities, including the recent thwarted assassination plot in Denmark and two assassinations in the Netherlands.
We remain committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for as long as Iran continues to implement it in full. This agreement remains central to international efforts to halt nuclear proliferation and is crucial for the security of the region. But we are clear that this commitment does not preclude us from addressing other hostile and destabilising activities”.