Speed Reads

The Iran crisis

Iranian protesters call for Ayatollah to step down following plane strike admission

Iran's admission that it accidently shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet carrying 176 people this week has sparked unrest in the country.

Protesters — including many students — gathered in Iran on Saturday and Sunday, criticizing the government and demanding the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down. Iran initially denied involvement in the incident, but later said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, fearing retaliation from the U.S. for a strike Tuesday against an American military base in Iraq, mistook the plane for hostile aircraft and launched a missile that brought the plane down, killing everyone on board.

A candlelit vigil in Tehran for the victims Saturday evening morphed into a protest before police broke up the gathering with tear gas. Iranian security forces deployed in large numbers in Tehran on Sunday, patrolling the city on motorbikes and stationing at various landmarks in anticipation of more protests.

Iran has also faced criticism outside its borders. The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned Tehran for briefly detaining British Amabassador to Iran Rob Macaire after he attended the vigil (Macaire said he wasn't aware it would turn into a protest.) Raab said Iran was on its way toward "pariah status." Officials from Ukraine, Canada, and the United States also expressed dismay over how Iran handled the situation.