Iran announces multiple arrests for 'unforgivable' missile attack on plane_1


A number of people have been arrested for their role in the "unforgivable" missile attack on a Ukraine passenger jet which killed 176 people.

Iran's judiciary said "extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested".

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili was quoted by Iranian state media, but did not say how many individuals had been detained or name them.

The arrests follow Iranian leaders' last week assuring the public they would ensure justice was served and the individuals responsible for the "disastrous" mistake would be prosecuted.

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday called for a special court to be set up to probe the downing of the plane which occurred just after takeoff from Tehran last Wednesday.

Iran, which initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the jetliner, later acknowledged that its Revolutionary Guard had shot down the plane by mistake during a period of heightened alert.

Mr Rouhani called the incident "a painful and unforgivable" mistake and promised that his administration would pursue the case "by all means."

Iran shot down the plane when it was bracing for possible US retaliation for a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq.

No one was hurt in that attack, which was carried out to avenge the stunning killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.

The admission sparked protests in Iran, with thousands of people taking to the streets over the deaths of the passengers who were mostly Iranian, followed by Canadians.

The shooting has led to one of the greatest public challenges to Iran's clerical rulers since they came to power in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Students have been at the forefront on the fourth day of demonstrations, some met by a violent police crackdown.

Video from inside Iran has shown wounded people being carried, pools of blood on the streets and the sound of gunfire.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a vigil of mourners he would pursue justice and accountability for the lives of at least 57 Canadians and has also accused the US of stoking tensions in the Middle East.

Ukraine's foreign minister said five of the countries whose citizens were killed when an airliner was shot down, would meet on Thursday.

"We will meet in person in London to discuss the ways, including legal, (for) how we are following this up," Vadym Prystaiko said.

-with AAP