Time moves at different speeds for everyone. 10 seconds is very fast for someone who’s trying to sleep but moves in extreme slow motion for someone who’s doing a plank.
And on 8 January 2020, an Iranian missile operator had a mere 10 seconds to decide the lives of many.
It was the shortest 10 seconds for him and he made the wrong decision.
What Happened So Far
Lest you’ve been reading news about Jay Chou instead of the tension between US and Iran, here’s a quick summary of what’s happened so far:
- US and Iran haven’t been on good terms, and it got worse when Trump took office
- A unit in Iran’s army, Quds Force, is designated as a terrorist organization by the US due to their actions all over the world. Quds Force is like the CIA in the US but with military powers
- Quds Force’s commander is Qasem Soleimani, who is very popular in Iran
- On 3 January 2020 in the US, missiles shot from US drones killed Soleimani
- Trump’s explanation for the assassination is that Soleimani was responsible for several Americans’ deaths, and Soleimani was planning more attacks
- However, not everyone agrees with Trump’s decision, for it could worsen the already-stained relationship between the two countries
- On 8 January 2020, Iran retaliated by launching missiles to two US bases in Iraq but there were no causalities
- On the same day, a Ukraine International Airlines passenger plane was unintentionally shot down by Iran (they just confirmed that yesterday)
Prior to yesterday, Iran had claimed that the plane had crashed due to technical problems.
Of course, everyone’s wondering: how can someone just “unintentionally” shoot down a plane?
It turns out that it was a communication breakdown.
After admitting that Iran was responsible for the plane crash, a Revolutionary Guards commander explained what happened on that fateful day.
The missile operator had mistaken the plane for a “cruise missile”—and he then had only 10 seconds to decide whether to shoot down the target.
Now, remember: that happened only after a few hours after Iran launched missiles to US bases. And so, according to the commander, “At various stages, it was reported… that cruise missiles had been fired towards the country.”
And because of the tension, the commander said that “given the information provided to the operator that it was a war situation and cruise missiles had been fired, this person identified this as a (missile).”
But why didn’t he seek clarification? After all, in the army, we’ve used to this phrase: you think I think who confirm?
Apparently, he had issues with his communications system. The commander added, “He was obliged to make contact and get verification. But apparently, his communications system had some disruptions…Either the ‘jamming’ system was the cause or the network was busy or whatever; he couldn’t get in touch.”
With that, he had ten seconds to make a decision, and like what the commander said, it was a “bad decision”.
Ukraine Demands Punishment & Compensation
After Iran’s admission, the Ukraine president demanded that Iran punish those responsible for the unfortunate mistake and wanted Iran to pay compensation.
In addition, he also said in a tweet that he wanted an official apology.
So far, the Iranian President had said that they “deeply regret” this mistake.
And Ukraine International Airlines has finally responded, with a Facebook post by their CEO, saying, “We never had any doubt that our crew and our plane could be the cause of this terrible catastrophe. They were the best.”
In the meantime, Iran has invited the United States, Ukraine, Canada and others to join the crash investigation.
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