Iran admits it ‘unintentionally’ shot down Ukrainian plane

Iran has admitted its military shot down a Ukranian passenger jet, by accident, killing all 176 people on board.
The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday – after Iran fired missiles targeting US forces based in Iraq.
Western countries had been piling pressure on Iran – which had spent days denying that it was responsible for the crash.
The attack was in response to the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
It is Iran’s worst civil aviation disaster since 1988 when the US military said it shot down an Iran Air plane over the Gulf by mistake.

Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig joins us live from Tehran with updates.

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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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