News & Politics

Iran State Media Tries to Justify Ukrainian Plane Strike With Mock Trial Propaganda

Twitter video screenshot of a mock trial aired on Iran state television.

On Saturday, Iran finally admitted that it had used an anti-aircraft missile to shoot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people, including 82 Iranians, on Wednesday, January 8. After this revelation, protesters took to the streets, demanding the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. In the days after those protests, Iran state media aired a video attempting to justify the strike against the plane.

The video shows the trial of a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He has been charged with allowing America to destroy Tehran’s international airport, killing 1,000 Iranians.

“This IRGC member is accused of not firing a rocket at a U.S. cruise missile which targeted Tehran’s most vital center, resulting in the martyrdom of 1000 people,” the prosecutor begins.

“Sir. You get your salary to protect the air and lives of Iran’s people. Why did you not fire at the U.S. missile?” the judge inquires.

“It was hard to decide, judge,” the IRGC member replies.

The judge establishes that the IRGC was “on a state of 100 percent alert” and that Iranian authorities informed him that “the Americans had threatened to strike 52 important Iranian centers.”

“Had the anti-aircraft systems not announced that unidentified flights and cruise missiles were airborne?” the judge asks. “Yes, they had announced this,” the IRGC member admits.

“So why didn’t you fire on the U.S. missile?”

Then comes the key line dialogue. The IRGC member recalled that their communication had been cut off. “It was just me, God and 10 seconds to decide. I didn’t fire … because I thought it was possibly a passenger aircraft.”

The incredulous judge asks, “Over a possibility, you caused the airport to be destroyed, so many planes to be destroyed, and some 1000 passengers who were waiting there, to become martyred. All over a ‘possibility’?”

“I have nothing to say. I am just sorry,” the condemned man replies.

The message is clear: Iran was right to fire the missile and destroy the Ukrainian plane because it could have been a U.S. missile.

This propaganda recycles the Democrats’ rush to blame President Donald Trump for the escalating situation in Iran. Contrary to this narrative, Iran-backed Iraqi militias began the latest round of attacks by killing a U.S. contractor. America responded with rockets that killed members of the militias, and the militia members stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Only after that did Trump order the strike killing Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani, a man who was himself responsible for the deaths of more than 600 U.S. soldiers.

This propaganda video is unlikely to convince the angry protesters or the international community. In addition to the 82 Iranians killed in the hit on the Ukrainian plane, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, 7 Afghans, and 3 U.K. citizens died. While the feckless Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found a way to blame Trump, the angry citizens of Iran know who is responsible, and they are calling for regime change.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.