NOTICE: The question remains: why was the PS752 shot down?


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By Sarah Teich, Kaveh Shahrooz and David Matas, Special for Postmedia Network

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On January 8, 2020, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down Ukrainian flight PS752 just above Tehran airport, killing all 176 people on board. 138 had ties to Canada, including 55 citizens and 30 permanent residents.

A report just released by the Association of Families of Victims concluded that the shooting was intentional. This finding raises the question of why the IRGC would have deliberately shot down an airliner.

The answer to this question can be found in the events before and after the shooting. American forces assassinated in Iraq on January 3, 2020, Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the IRGC, the branch of the IRGC accused of terrorist acts abroad.

Two days later, US President Trump warned that if Iran retaliated, it would face attacks on 52 targets. Early on the morning of the day PS752 was shot down, the IRGC launched a missile attack on a US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Asad, giving the Americans advance warning of the attack.

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After the attack on the US base, Iran kept its airspace open to passenger planes. Then, IRGC security officials stationed at airport checkpoints began routinely asking boarding passengers if they had US passports or were going to the US, which they had not done. in the past.

Iran’s theocratic government has a long history of inflicting death on innocent people, then both denying responsibility and justifying actions. In addition to the examples in the report, we note that in 1988 the regime murdered several thousand innocent people, then both denied responsibility for the murders and claimed that the victims were enemies of God. One of the executioners was Ebrahim Raisi, the current Iranian president.

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In 1994, Iranian agents staged a suicide bombing attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85 and injuring hundreds. Interpol’s red notices and extradition requests against Iranian perpetrators remain pending. The regime has denied its involvement and criticized its accusers as Zionists. One of the people wanted for the attack is Ahmad Vahidi, the current Iranian Minister of the Interior.

In June 2018, a meeting one of us, David Matas, was attending in Paris, was targeted by Iranian bombers, caught en route. One of the suicide bombers, an Iranian diplomat, was convicted and sentenced in February this year to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court for the attempt. Once again, while denying any involvement, the Iranian regime labeled the meeting participants as enemies of God.

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Ukrainian Secretary of the National Defense and Security Council Oleksiy Danilo said, after questioning Iranian officials, that Iran, through the shooting, was seeking to create a diversion that would end a situation that ‘they had escalated by the missile attack on the American missile base in Iraq earlier in the day.

Then UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard wrote to the Iranian government: “Some may even wonder if the theft was targeted on purpose, either because of something specific or perhaps to distract from it. increasing hostilities between Your Excellency’s government and the United States and to allow this tension to subside.

This is indeed what happened. The slaughter of PS752 became the ideal diversion due to its specific characteristics – a soft Western target, but not an American one. Ukraine, at least currently, is politically aligned with the West. None of the passengers, IRGC ensured, were American or were heading to the United States

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Four days after PS752 was shot, IRGC Chief General Hossein Salami delivered a speech to Parliament in which, while claiming the shooting was an accident, said the IRGC’s goal was to take revenge on death. by Force Chief Quds Soleimani in due course, without prompting the United States to follow through on its threat to strike 52 Iranian sites.

He added that the IRGC wanted to strike in an unexpected way that avoided the spread of the conflict. The shooting, we observe, ticked all of those boxes.

Canada only designates the IRGC’s foreign division as a terrorist entity. The slaughter of PS752 graphically showed that Iran is also carrying out terrorist acts in its country, where immunity and cover-up are so much easier than abroad.

An immediate lesson Canada should learn from the slaughter of PS752 with so many Canadian casualties is the need to identify the IRGC as a whole, and not just its foreign division, as a terrorist entity.

Sarah Teich and Kaveh Shahrooz are senior associates at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Sarah Teich is legal counsel for the Canadian Coalition Against Terrorism. David Matas is a senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights. All three are legal advisers for the Association of Families of PS752 Victims.

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