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Iran's mistake could spell trouble for the regime

Filed on January 13, 2020 | Last updated on January 13, 2020 at 08.34 pm

Judging from video evidence, it is absolutely clear that Ukraine Air flight PS752 was shot down by a surface to air missile in a classic case of misidentification under a very tense situation in a volatile atmosphere surrounded within a conflict zone. Iran has acknowledged human error, admitting that a Russian-built missile destroyed the Boeing 737-800, which sometimes resemble transport aircraft on radar systems with a military signature.

Compounding the cascading series of errors, flight 752 was running one hour late. In 2007 and 2008, Iranian air defence units mistakenly fired on two airliners amid fears that Israel was planning to attack its nuclear weapons development facilities, according to a classified report.

Iranian air defence units believed enemy aircraft might mimic the flight profile of an airliner. In the current tense environment, Iran's entire air defence system was on hair trigger alert, reducing any margin of error only to a few minutes.

On July 3, 1988, the most sophisticated warship in the world, the USS Vincennes, shot down a fully loaded Iran Air Flight 655 killing 300 innocent passengers. The warship mistook the airbus for an Iranian F14 tomcat, at a time of intense hostilities in the Gulf area. Over the past 70 years, over 50 passenger jets were blown out of the skies, killing over 10,000 innocent souls. Most were cases of mistaken identity, while some had sinister links to security. In an era where tension is rife in conflict areas, involving high-tech weaponry, the risk of military errors is an ever-present deadly menace. With the deployment of nuclear missiles on hair trigger alert, one mistake will spell the end of humanity.

- Farouk Araie, Johannesburg

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