Khamenei to lead Friday prayers for first time in eight years

Khamenei to lead Friday prayers for first time in eight years
Supreme Leader is set to lead the Friday prayer on Friday in Tehran. Source: EPA
4 Min Read

Daily US Times, Tehran: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is to lead Friday prayers in the capital Tehran. This is going to happen the first time in eight years.

The announcement came amid a wake of angry protests over the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by Iran’s military last week.

Iran’s leadership is also under pressure for a sharp downturn after the US piled more sanctions on the country.]

President Hassan Rouhani asked the citizens for national unity of Wednesday. He also said the military would give a full account of how the Ukrainian passenger jet was shot down. This kind of public account is very rare for Iran’s military.

Iran fired two missiles to a passenger jet frying to Kyiv, Ukraine, amid high tensions with the US. The plane crashed by the hit, and all the 176 people on board died.

After three days of denial, Iran, at last, acknowledged that it mistakenly shot down the aeroplane. President Rouhani and foreign minister Zarif vowed to keep them accountable those who responsible.

Several people have been arrested for the alleged ‘mistake’.

Situation in Iran

Iran’s Mehr news agency said 80-year-old Supreme Leader would lead this week’s Friday Muslim prayers in Tehran’s Mosalla mosque but did not link the event to the current situation.

The agency reported quoting officials as saying “the Iranian nation will once again demonstrate their unity and magnificence”.

It was 2012 when Ayatollah Khamenei led Friday prayers in Tehran on the 33rd anniversary of the country’s Islamic Revolution.

It is a sign when Iran’s highest authority wishes to deliver an important message, says Mehdi Khalaji of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The person who filmed the plane crash arested

The confusion arises over the arrested person, whether he is the right person or wrong.

Iranian media reported that Revolutionary Guards had taken a person who posted a video last week of the missile striking the plane into custody.

But an Iranian journalist based on London denied the claim. The journalist initially posted the video online.

He said his source is safe and the authorities have arrested the wrong person.

He also accused IRGC of ”orchestrating another lie.”

Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said that several people had been detained over the downing of the plane.

A New York Times report claimed two missiles were fired to the plane more than 20 seconds apart.

Who are the victims?

Sixty-three of the plane’s passengers were Canadian. Other victims included 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from Sweden, the UK, Afghanistan, and Germany.

It is still unclear why so many Canadian passengers were in that plane. But the airline offers cheap flight to Canada from Kiev.

Plane crash demonstration is Iran’s ‘Chernobyl’ moment?

Many protesters in Iran took streets over the weekend to show their anger to the government. This happened after the government admitted they mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane.

The protest was not large in number, but it carries significance. Several observers already indicate these demonstrations is the beginning could make an end to the Iranian regime.

Iran acknowledged that it mistakenly shot down the jet which killed all 176 people on board. The incident happened amid high tensions with the US. The victims were mostly Iranian, but a large number of them were Canadians.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed “human error” prompted by “US adventurism”. Mr Zarif indicated killing of revered Iranian commander, Qasem Soleimani and the situation created in the region after it.

On Tuesday, Iran announced that it arrested several people linked to the incident and President Hassan Rouhani said those responsible would be punished.

Iran is currently pointing fingers to Washington and its allies to provocating the plane crash and igniting protestors in Tehran’s streets. Trump administration has fomented a fractious atmosphere, it was not responsible for this accident.