Iran makes arrests over plane disaster as protests rage on
Iran said on Jan. 14 it had arrested people accused of a role in shooting down a Ukrainian airliner and had also detained 30 people involved in protests that have swept the nation for four days since the military belatedly admitted its error.
Jan. 8's shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, killing all 176 people aboard, has led to one of the biggest public challenges to the Islamic Republic's clerical rulers since they took power four decades ago.
In a step that will increase diplomatic pressure, Britain, France, and Germany launched a dispute mechanism to challenge Iran for breaching limits on its nuclear programme under an agreement which Washington abandoned in 2018.
Since the United States killed Iran's most powerful military commander in a drone strike on Jan. 3, Tehran has faced escalating confrontation with the West and unrest at home, both reaching levels with little precedent in its modern history.
Iran shot down the airliner on Jan. 8 when its military was on high alert, hours after it had fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq. After days of denying a role in the air crash, it admitted it on Jan. 11, calling it a tragic mistake.
Protesters, many of them students, have held daily demonstrations since then, chanting "Clerics get lost!" and calling for the removal of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in power for more than 30 years.
Video from inside Iran has shown wounded people being carried, pools of blood on the streets and the sound of gunfire. The overall level of unrest is difficult to assess because of restrictions on independent reporting.
Iran's police denied firing at protesters. The judiciary said 30 people had been detained in the unrest but...