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Iranian Protesters Demand Supreme Leader Step Down

The protests come after Iran said it mistook a commercial airliner for a hostile missile.
Posted at 11:38 AM, Jan 12, 2020

Iranian protesters took to the streets of Tehran Saturday, demanding the country's supreme leader step down.

The protest was in response to the Iranian government's admission that it mistakenly struck a Ukrainian commercial airliner, killing 176 passengers.

Iran initially denied it was responsible for downing the plane, but walked back the denial Saturday. Protesters say it was a cover-up.

Iran's foreign minister said preliminary conclusions of an internal investigation show the plane was shot down due to "human error at [a] time of crisis caused by US adventurism." An official said on state TV the military was on "high alert" and that the plane was mistaken for a "hostile missile."

The protesters urged the government to prosecute those responsible for the accidental strike. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a tweet on Friday that investigations "continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that Iran formally apologized over the phone "to all of Ukraine and relatives of the dead."

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN