Iranís Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says his ministry has established a round-the-clock hotline to assist families of victims who were killed on board a Ukrainian plane that crashed earlier this week just outside the Iranian capital Tehran.
The Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, en route to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed minutes after takeoff near capital Tehran early on Wednesday, killing all the 176 on board. On Saturday morning, the Iranian Armed Forces issued a statement saying that the Boeing 737-800 aircraft was shot down due to human error.
The Iranian top diplomat announced the hotline in two tweets - one in Persian and one in English - on Sunday, to convey his deep condolences and regretting to families of the victims.
"As part of practical measures to assist families of victims of #PS752 tragic disaster, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a hotline. It is manned 24/7. Number: +98 21 61153009," he said, adding, "Embassies have also been instructed to facilitate assistance to families/friends of victims."
Iranian authorities say the Ukrainian airliner had been mistaken with an adversarial cruise missile when it was shot down by an extra missile defense system deployed to the southwest of Tehran.
On Saturday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster.
Zarif also offered Iranís "profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations."
Iran has vowed full cooperation with countries whose nationals lost their lives in the crash, particularly Canada which had 63 citizens on board the plane.
Furthermore, Iranian authorities have promised a thorough investigation into the incident and vowed that all those responsible for the tragedy will be held into account.
The tragic incident occurred a few hours after the Iranian defense units poured more than a dozen ballistic missiles on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq, in retaliation for the US assassination of Iranís top military commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
The strike also assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of the Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), near Baghdad International Airport. Four other Iranians and four more Iraqis in their company were also martyred.