Tehran knew immediately that a Ukrainian plane had been shot down, according to a leaked recording of a discussion between an Iranian air traffic controller and an Iranian pilot, BuzzFeed News reported Monday.
The head of the Iranian team probing the incident, in which all 176 people on board the civilian aircraft were killed when Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was downed by two Iranian missiles last month, has acknowledged the validity of the recording, which was broadcast on a Ukrainian television channel Sunday night.
The Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel's TSN news program, which obtained the video, shared it exclusively with BuzzFeed News.
In the recording, the pilot of a plane heading for Tehran describes to an air traffic controller seeing what looked like a missile being fired, after which there was an explosion and a burning object flying through the air.
The air traffic controller sounded shocked, and the pilot informed him that the object he saw came from Tehran.
Although the recording does not include the air traffic controller notifying government officials of the incident, experts indicate that would have been an immediate step in such an incident.
Iranian investigation team leader Hassan Rezaeifar suggested that Tehran would halt cooperation with Kyiv due to the publication of the recording, according to Iran's Mehr News Agency, meaning Tehran might stop transferring any more materials to the Ukrainians.
Iran initially claimed that the plane crashed due to technical difficulties and made efforts to cover up the evidence before admitting that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had shot it down, mistaking it for an American attack.
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