A handout picture provided by the Iranian Presidency on January 15, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani signing a book carrying the names of the victims of the Ukraine Flight 752 downing, following a cabinet meeting in Tehran.
A handout picture provided by the Iranian Presidency on January 15, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani signing a book carrying the names of the victims of the Ukraine Flight 752 downing, following a cabinet meeting in Tehran.
Photo by HO / Iranian Presidency / AFP

Tehran: President Hassan Rouhani appealed Wednesday for "unity" and flagged the need for radical changes to the way Iran is run, after a wave of angry protests over the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner.

The Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was shot down last week in a catastrophic error shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board.

Iran had for days denied claims based on US intelligence that the plane had been downed by a missile, triggering four days of demonstrations as well as international calls for a full and transparent investigation.

"If there was a delay" by the armed forces to release information about the air disaster, "let them apologise," he said.

Rouhani also called for a full explanation of what happened in the air disaster, which came hours after Iran's military fired a wave of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq. The missile attack was launched in retaliation for a US drone strike that killed Iran's general, Qasem Soleimani.

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