TEHRAN admitted on Saturday that its military had mistakenly shot down a Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, killing all 176 people on board, many of whom were Iranian. The confession in itself appears to have re-ignited anti-government sentiments, after the wave of nationalism that swept the country since the killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Suleimani earlier this month.
Crowds gathered in the capital Tehran for a candlelight vigil on Saturday to commemorate victims of the airliner while protesters called for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted. Familiar chants of “Death to America,” were traded for “Death to the dictator” and “Death to the liar.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 16 January 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly