Iran faces legal action over airline shoot-down, but protests more concerning

Foreign ministers from the five countries with citizens on board Ukraine International Airlines flight shot down by Iran last week

iran airline shoot down

Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA

Foreign ministers from the five countries with citizens on board Ukraine International Airlines flight shot down by Iran last week will meet in London today to discuss potential legal action against Tehran.

While it is unclear what action the countries will take, today’s discussions will likely focus on carrying out a full examination of the recordings on the plane’s black boxes. Currently, the group is verifying if labs in Ukraine have the means to do so.

But Iran’s government has more pressing concerns. The shoot down has sparked protests throughout the country in the past week. Tehran’s admission of guilt appears to have re-ignited anti-government sentiment that emerged last year, despite the wave of nationalism that followed the US killing of Iranian commander Qassim Suleimani’s earlier this month.

Perhaps more worryingly for those in power, the incident has triggered some condemnation from conservatives too, who typically support the government.

There are worries that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could move to violently quash protests, as he did last year. Indeed, security forces and pro-government militia men were deployed in cities around the country Sunday, which has already resulted in tens of casualties.

In the meantime, Tehran is likely to continue to point the finger at the US—an approach the Islamic Republic has used consistently since the revolution in 1979.

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