Iran admits to unintentionally shooting down Ukrainian plane

By Fernando Alfonso III, Amir Vera and Sheena McKenzie, CNN

Updated 8:15 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020
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6:28 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

President Trump to Iranian protesters: 'My Administration will continue to stand with you'

From CNN’s Kevin Bohn

President Trump tweeted a message of support in English and Farsi to demonstrators in Iran following a day of protests in the country.

Thousands of people gathered in front of the gate of Amirkabir University of Technology not far from the former US Embassy in Tehran on Saturday in anti-government protests.

The students were originally set to gather for a vigil ceremony to commemorate the victims of the downed Ukrainian Airlines plane, but the mood of the crowd shifted to anger, Iran’s semi-official FARS News Agency reported.

Across social media people posted the following:

“The Chief Commander of all army forces (Supreme Leader) must resign.”

“Resignation is not enough. The responsible must be tried.” 

“Death to dictator.”

“IRGC, resignation, resignation. Leave the power.”

5:04 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Iran's president expressed 'profound regret' for the Ukrainian passenger jet being shot down

From CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph and Laura James 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke via phone Saturday about the Ukrainian passenger jet being shot down, according to a readout of the phone call from the Canadian government.

Rouhani expressed "profound regret for the shooting down of the aircraft by the Iranian military."

Trudeau insisted on the need for a complete and thorough investigation, saying Canada was ready to deploy air safety experts to facilitate black box examination and DNA specialists to assist with victim identification and the return of remains to Canada.

Trudeau and Rouhani agreed "on the importance of de-escalation and dialogue to reduce tensions and promote stability in the region." Trudeau said the incident is "an example of how heightened tensions can have tragic consequences for innocent civilians."

4:34 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Anti-government protests in Tehran captured on video

By CNN's Alisha Ebrahimji

CNN has obtained video through Alireza Azami, an activist in the Netherlands, showing thousands of people gathered in front of the gate of Amir Kabir University in Tehran.

Azami told CNN the videos were shot by people at the protests who want to remain anonymous for safety reasons. 

In the video below, protesters can be heard chanting “Khamenei have shame. Leave the country."

Some context: Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged Iran’s Armed Forces to investigate the “possible shortcomings” that led to the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane on Wednesday.

Watch Azami's video below:

4:22 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Victim in Ukraine flight crash was NC State alumna, school says

From CNN’s Hollie Silverman

Bahareh Karami 
Bahareh Karami  North Carolina State University

One of the victims killed in the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash was an alumna of North Carolina State University, according to the school.

Bahareh Karami received a master's degree in environmental engineering in 2012, the school said. She's remembered for her "perseverance and optimism."

“She initially had a tough time in grad school,” said Francis de los Reyes, an engineering professor who was her mentor. “But she stuck to it and I was so proud of her when she graduated. She had a bright future ahead of her.”

Karami's employer, the Regional Municipality of York in Canada, lowered flags to half-staff in her honor, the school said.

Karami spoke four languages and earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering at the University of Tehran in 2009, then received an international certificate in health, safety and environmental training from the United Nations Association of Iran.

4:20 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Ukraine National Security Defense Council accuses Iran of trying to hide aspects of the crash site

From CNN's Sebastian Shukla, Scott McLean, Denis Lapin and Seb Shukla

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council secretary, told CNN "the Iranians may have had a desire that nothing be revealed” and that they “acted there [at the crash site] very, very quickly so that everything was hidden.”

Danilov said in an interview Friday to say that “what they did and how it all looked when we [Ukrainian investigators] saw it was just awful.”

2:39 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Ukrainian investigators "understood" a missile hit the plane 3 hours after they began work at the crash site

From CNN's Scott McLean, Denis Lapin and Sebastian Shukla

Ukrainian investigators “understood” that a missile had brought down PS752 on its way from Tehran to Kiev just three hours after they started work at the crash site, according to Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov.

Danilov, who spoke with CNN today, said “these experts have experience in studying such tragedies, they were involved in the investigation of the Boeing disaster brought down by the Russian Federation [Malaysia Airlines Flight 17] in the Donetsk region.” 

He added that “after 3 hours of their fruitful work and thanks to the information that we began to receive from other sources, we realized that such a tragedy had occurred.”

2:13 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Queen Elizabeth II shares her condolences following Ukrainian airliner crash

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life" following the news of the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed Wednesday killing all 176 people on board.

Of those people on board, 57 were Canadian.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Canada, which has suffered such a devastating loss," the Queen said in a message to Canada's governor general today. "I extend my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all those Canadians, and indeed other nationalities, who died, and to the many others who have been affected by this terrible event."

The Queen's message can be read here.

1:50 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Tensions between the US and Iran “contributed” to downing of flight, Trudeau says

Photos of crash site of Ukrainian plane 
Photos of crash site of Ukrainian plane 

Tensions between the US and Iran “contributed” to the downing of flight PS 752, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters this afternoon when asked if Canada draws a direct connection between the plane crash and tensions between the two countries, as Iran has previously stated. 

“I think at times of conflict and tension, that’s precisely when innocent lives are lost. Obviously in this context, in the Middle East these days, that contributed to this tragedy but Iran did the right thing and took responsibility for the downing of this plane and for this tragedy," Trudeau said.
1:32 p.m. ET, January 11, 2020

Trudeau on plane crash: "Iran must take full responsibility"

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau he commits “to collaborate, to give closure to the victims, de-escalate tensions in the region and continue this dialogue,” Trudeau told reporters this afternoon.

“What Iran has admitted to is very serious. Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific. Iran must take full responsibility,” Trudeau said. “Canada will not rest until we get the accountability, justice, and closure that the families deserve.”