Iranian General in 2016: Air-Defense Operators Have Authority to Fire Missiles without Permission
Monday, 13 January 2020 - 06:35 PM
In an interview with the Iranian IRINN TV, aired on March 10, 2016, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force said that low-ranking operators have full permission to launch air defense missiles at their own discretion. On January 11, 2020, following the Iranian downing of a Ukrainian Airlines plane, which was mistaken for a cruise missile, General Hajizadeh appeared in a press conference, which was aired on the Iranian Ofogh TV. In the press conference, General Hajizadeh said that he heard about the "heart-wrenching incident" of the downing of the Ukrainian plane and that when he ascertained that "the incident had indeed taken place," he wished he were dead. He added that the IRGC Aerospace Force accepts full responsibility for this incident and will abide by any decision made by the senior officials. General Hajizadeh explained that the "poor guy" who was operating the air-defense system that night failed to do his duty and contact his superior officers to confirm the identity of what appeared to be a cruise missile. General Hajizadeh continued to suggest that this was due to a communication system malfunction, whether because the communication system had been jammed or was overloaded. General Hajizadeh added that the fact that it took several days to make this incident public is not because someone was trying to hide anything but due to the inquest. General Hajizadeh said that "ultimately, this (incident) is the outcome of America's provocations and measures in the region." He continued to say that while he was in the west of the country overseeing the missile attack on the U.S. base in Iraq, "other dear people" were in charge of closing off the Iranian airspace and they should have done so. However, due to the high tensions that night, "the ground was paved for one individual to make this huge mistake."