Jan 13, 2020, 3:34 PM
Journalist ID: 1195
News Code: 83632370
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Iran Gov't Spox: No cover-up surrounding plane crash

Tehran, Jan 13, IRNA – Iranian government Spokesman Ali Rabiei reacted on Monday to the accusations that the government has lied or engaged in a cover-up over a Ukrainian Airliner crash that the initial statements denying downing of the plane had roots in unawareness or "better to say being kept unaware".

"The Thursday night statement by me was a response to the United State's widespread psychological war against the Iranian nation and based on the information the government as a whole was provided with no government official, including the president, was aware of the original reason behind the plane crash until Friday evening," Rabiei said in a news conference.

Rabiei apologized to the people and journalists for official statements denying the fact, and said: "In fact, the government itself was caught in this flawed cycle of information dissemination."

He said that the president is following up on different matters related to the plane crash, including legal and personal issues of the victims, and will soon have a public speech about the matter.

The spokesman denied reports that Qatar gave $3 billion to Iran for the payment of compensation for the downed plane.

He dubbed Farsi tweets by US President Donald Trump as “crocodile tears” and said: “This is the very person who threatened to target 52 cultural sites [in Iran] right after assassinating Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani and now the root of problems Iranians are experiencing in the society are livelihood, medicine, and food caused by the US sanctions."

Denying any negotiation with the United States under pressure, the official stressed that direct negotiation is impossible because the US is not reliable.

“As we move, Trump thinks that he can move us to another point by more pressure on the living of Iranians. In this situation that we are under pressure, negotiation is off the subject.”

Rabiei described the European countries' negative reaction to the US' insisting that they should withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as “a step forward”, and said that destruction of the nuclear deal would pass on a damaging message to the world concerning multilateralism, international peace, and security and the rule of law.

On the temporary detention of British ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire, Rabiei said that he had attended illegal rallies, which is inconsistent with ambassadorial tasks, adding: "[this was] totally unprofessional and unacceptable."

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