Guilty until proven innocent: Speculations around Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran

US and Canadian investigators are due to arrive at the site of Wednesday’s plane crash in Tehran, on Iran’s invitation. All 176 passengers on the Ukrainian passenger jet lost their lives.

Iran says a ‘thorough investigation’ is underway and has rejected what it calls ‘illogical and impossible’ claims by Western leaders that it may have accidentally shot down the Boeing.

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In This Story: Iran

Iran, also called Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital and largest city.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. The Iranian Revolution established the current Islamic Republic in 1979.

Iran’s political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy. Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves.

The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.

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