Mohsen Asadi-Lari and Zahra Majd, the parents of two passengers who were killed when the IRGC shot down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 on January 8, 2020, said in an interview that was posted on Ensafnews.com on January 8, 2022 that the IRGC had intentionally shot down Flight 752, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board. The couple said that they are gathering evidence to prove that the "accident" was intentional, and they claimed that the plane was used as a "human shield" to prevent war with the U.S. after Iran targeted American military bases in Iraq in response to the U.S. assassination of IRGC Qods Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani a few days prior. They said that the IRGC explicitly said that had the plane not been downed, there would have been a war with America that would endanger 10 million Iranian lives, and they added that IRGC Commander-In-Chief Salami had insisted on paying them a condolence visit.
The couple emphasized that the downing of Flight 752 was "no accident," that the investigation was "fixed" by "reverse engineering," and that the trial held in Iran of those responsible would not serve justice. They described how none of their children's possessions from the wreckage were returned to them, including electronics, and they speculated that this may be because the electronics contained information about what happened on the flight. They also said that bulldozers cleared the crash site very quickly after the disaster. The parents also said that they do not know the identity of any of the defendants in the trial, except for one man identified as Mr. Seyyedoun, who they said is a deputy to IRGC Aerospace Force Commander General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh. Mr. Asadi-Lari said that he curses General Hajizadeh every day, and said that his curses should be published, and Mrs. Majd added that Hajizadeh had initially been indicted, but proceedings against him were halted abruptly. Mrs. Majd also said that perhaps this interview could not be published "now," but that the regime can no longer intimidate them, since they have "already lost everything." Mohsen Asadi-Lari served as Deputy Health Minister for International Affairs, but was fired from his job after Flight 752 was shot down. He said that he had initially not believed the claims that the plane was downed by IRGC missiles because he believed the IRGC was supposed to defend Iranians.
Mohsen Asadi-Lari: "During the trail, we and the rest of the families insisted that the experts' report would be made available to the lawyers and the families. Unfortunately, however, this report is not meant to be made available to the families.
"Unfortunately, we see that they have no desire to clarify this issue. Unfortunately, every time that... I do not know whether I should say this, or whether you should check if it is good or not to publish this... It is clear that the court is under pressure exerted from other places.
"We did not expect justice from the [pre-Revolution] judicial system,"
Zahra Majd: "There was the Savak [secret police]..."
Asadi-Lari: "Right. But now they are talking about the justice of Ali [bin Abu Talib]. Where is the justice of Ali? Is this justice? Obviously not."
Majd: "After the plane was shot down, the families and other people were not allowed to go to the crash site.
"In addition, nothing of the kids' belongings was given to us - not their laptops, not their mobile phones. Nothing. Not even the money that was on them, or their luggage. The only thing that was given to us was our daughter's burnt passport. How is this possible? In the pictures, you can see a burnt doll.
"How can something made of fabric survive, but electronic items are gone? There may have been information there. Perhaps the kids filmed their last moments. Maybe there is information that they do not want to make available to us.
"In addition, on the following day [after the plane was shot down], they brought a bulldozer and wiped out the crash site. Whenever there is an ordinary murder - a murder carried out one way or another - how is it dealt with? What does the detective that arrives at the scene do? He takes fingerprints, he takes whatever is left, and compares the evidence in order to arrive at the cause.
"How can a crime scene that was destroyed be examined and investigated?
"One of the important issues that we noticed at the first session of the court was that on the placard they hang behind the judge, they wrote: 'The Court for Dealing with the Plane Accident.' Well, we got into a big argument with the judge about this. We said that this is a sign of his prejudice in this regard, and that the whole matter of 'an accident' was only relevant in the first three days, when they still denied [that they had shot down the plane.]
"An 'accident' means that the plane crashed because of the weather, or that there was an engine failure that led to the crash. This disaster or this crime - I don't know if you want to use such harsh terms - was no accident.
"Right now, the dispute revolves around whether the downing of the plane was intentional or not.
"We are gathering the evidence and we are taking it towards [proving] that it was intentional."
Asadi-Lari: "We feel that they turned the airplane into a human shield. This is how we feel."
Majd: "Obviously, it is more than just a feeling. We have evidence."
Asadi-Lari: "They wanted to shoot down [the plane] and blame it on America. They had done similar things before."
Interviewer: "What are they saying in their defense?"
Majd: "Why 'in their defense'? They are saying this explicitly."
Interviewer: "They are saying what?"
Majd: "That had this plane not crashed, a fierce war would have broken out the next day, America would have attacked, and 10 million people might have been in danger."
Asadi-Lari: "In the first days, many government officials came [to offer their condolences]. We had a problem with IRGC officials and did not want [them to come], but [IRGC Commander-in-Chief] Salami insisted on meeting us, and so he came over.
"[We are certain] about the identity of only one of the [defendants], whose rank was higher than that of the others. I am talking about Mr. Seyyedoun, who is practically the deputy of [IRGC Aerospace Force commander] Hajizadeh, damn him. Never mind. You can write down 'damn him.'"
Majd: "No way..."
Asadi-Lari: "Let them write it down. They can write that I said this. After all, we curse him day and night so what difference does it make... Perhaps you cannot write this, but we can say it. [Seyyedoun] is the only one whom we identified for certain."
Majd: "The [defendants] do not wear prison uniform."
Asadi-Lari: "Right. That's an important point."
Majd: "They are all in their civilian clothes."
"They do not have handcuffs. Our lawyers said that they should have handcuffs on them. In any case, the normal order of a court does not exist in this case."
Majd: "Mr. Hajizadeh also... Say this, please... He was interviewed and when he was indicted and the charges were explained to him, but then an order came to halt the legal proceedings against him."
Majd: "An order came from above that he must not stand trial."
Asadi-Lari: "Right. He is free.
"Unfortunately, it is clear that they... You should write this... They are engaged in reverse engineering. Am I being clear?"
Interviewer: "About the reverse engineering? It means that they know the outcome and so they are..."
Asadi-Lari: "It means that they are 'fixing' the information they had before."
Majd: "The court does not deal with the question of whether this was or was not an accident. The 'accident' turned into a 'downing' of the plane, and the question now is whether or not this was done on purpose."
Asadi-Lari: "It is true that in international documentation, such incidents were referred to as accidents. They are right. All these [incidents] were referred to as 'accidents.' Why? Because there is no precedent of a country shooting down its own passenger plane. In fact, these were [Iranian] passengers.
"In the first three days, I was angry at people who said that the plane was shot down. I said to them: 'What are you talking about? You are repeating the claims of the opposition to the regime, and are pitting us against the regime. Why?'
"At 8 AM, when they announced [that the plane was actually shot down], I hit myself in the head so hard that I fainted.
"I could not accept that with one of our own missiles - a missile that is meant to protect the security and lives of our children and our people - they would shoot down a plane and so many young geniuses... This was inconceivable to me.
"In the first hour, the Americans knew [that the plane was shot down] and Hajizadeh himself knew this as well.
"The fact that Trump canceled his press conference on Tuesday evening - in Iran, it was Wednesday morning - served as a very important message to the senior leaders of our country. They said that [when the U.S. refrained from retaliating for the attack on Ayn Al Asad], it was like a pool of ice water being poured over our heads.
"They said that we had expected the U.S. to respond in a much harsher way, but it didn't. If you place all these things one next to the other, it is clear that the scenario was like I told you: They used [the plane] as a human shield and wanted to blame America for this.
"Excuse me... I have spoken in a very transparent way today."
Majd: "In any case, these things should be written down in the annals of history. Perhaps now, you will not be able to publish this... Unfortunately, the atmosphere leans more and more towards distortions.
"The [regime] intensifies the atmosphere of fear and terror, but this is less effective in our case, because we have already lost everything."