NIAC Statement on Iran’s Accidental Downing of Passenger Plane

WASHINGTON DC – In response to reports that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had acknowledged that it was responsible for accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger plane this week, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement:

“Our hearts are with the families and friends still grieving over their lost loved ones. This has been a tremendous loss for Iran, the Iranian diaspora and all who lost loved ones on the flight.

“Today we learned this was an entirely avoidable and irresponsible error, which has already prompted large protests in Iran. It was also brought on by avoidable tensions between the U.S. and Iran that threatened to spill over into full-blown war. It underscores that when tensions rise, it is unfortunately all too common for mistakes to be made that lead to disastrous consequences. We urge the U.S. and Iranian governments to continue to deescalate, open up diplomatic channels and ensure there is no further loss of life from the reckless rush to the brink of war.”

NIAC Statement on Plane Crash in Tehran

Press Release - For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council expresses its condolences to the families of the victims of a plane crash yesterday near Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport that killed 39 people and injured an additional 9 passengers. 
Iran has one of the worst civilian flight records in the world, due in large part to sanctions that have blocked the purchase of new aircraft, spare parts, or repairs for Iranian aircraft. Without the ability to replace or maintain its aging fleet, Iranian airlines have relied on unsafe aircraft that put civilians in danger. In the past decade, over 1,000 people in Iran have died in plane crashes. 
NIAC has strongly opposed these sanctions and pressed for sanctions on civilian aircraft to be revoked. This is an issue that directly impacts Iranian Americans, many of whom travel to Iran and have experienced the risks associated with air travel in Iran firsthand.
Thankfully, the interim nuclear deal brokered between Iran and the P5+1 in November of last year suspended many of these aircraft sanctions. As a result, a number of licenses have been granted by the U.S. government to enable companies to provide repairs and spare parts for Iranian civilian aircraft. These repairs and upgrades to unsafe planes cannot be completed soon enough.

Yesterday’s accident is yet another grim reminder of the humanitarian impact that broad sanctions continue to have against ordinary people inside of Iran. It is our hope that such tragedies can be avoided in the future through the allowance of aircraft parts and repairs, and that a permanent diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff will lift all such sanctions that are punishing ordinary Iranians.