A new leaked recording of an audio log between an Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iranian pilot who witnessed the nearby downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 proves that authorities in Tehran knew immediately after the Jan.8 disaster what had actually happened, despite initially announcing it was an accident based on a likely mechanical failure. It further took days of denials before the Islamic Republic finally admitted the IRGC mistakenly launched missiles which destroyed the civilian aircraft, killing all 176 people aboard.
“A series of lights like… yes, it is missile, is there something?” the pilot is heard calling out in Farsi to the controller after witnessing bright flashes in the distance. “No, how many miles? Where?” the controller asks, according to the stunning audio transcript.
Ukraine’s 1+1 TV channel published the leaked audio and transcript Monday, which President Volodymyr Zelenskiy subsequently acknowledged as authentic, according to the AP. The head of the Iranian investigation team into the tragedy also said the recording is authentic.
Publicly available radar tracking data shows that the pilot of a nearby medium-sized Iranian Aseman Airlines jet was close enough to see the downing unfold.
According to the transcript, the pilot insists to a confused controller: “It is the light of a missile.”
“Don’t you see anything anymore?” the controller asks.
“Dear engineer, it was an explosion. We saw a very big light there, I don’t really know what it was,” the pilot responds.
The controller then tries to no avail to establish contact with the Ukrainian Boeing 737.