A Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences, US officials reportedly said on Thursday, a conclusion Iran dismissed as “impossible”.
The Ukrainian International airliner bound for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, crashed minutes after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.
The Pentagon declined to comment.
Iran reportedly dismissed the reports as “illogical rumours”.
“It is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane,” Iran’s head of civil aviation was quoted by Iran’s INSA news agency as saying.
Iranian investigators earlier on Thursday said the airliner was on fire and tried turning back but its crew never made a radio call for help.
The plane carried mostly Iranians and Iranian Canadians.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to provide an update about the crash at 19:00 GMT on Thursday.
Ukraine examining four scenarios
Ukraine, meanwhile, outlined four potential scenarios on Thursday to explain the deadly crash, including a missile strike and terrorism.
Oleksiy Danilov, Ukraine’s top security official, said that airliner may have been brought down by a Russian-made missile.
According to Danilov, who is the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, a team of 45 Ukrainian experts had arrived in Tehran to examine why the plane crashed.
Back in Washington, US President Donald Trump said he had “suspicions” about the crash.
“It was flying in a pretty rough neighbourhood and somebody could have made a mistake,” he said.
“Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question,” he added, without offering any evidence.