A series of events leading to a Tuesday evening decision by Tehran to launch ballistic missiles toward U.S. military bases — and subsequently shooting down a commercial airliner that was caught in the crossfire — could have been avoided, a Democratic lawmaker said this week.
Instead, because President Donald Trump chose to escalate tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the days prior, part of the responsibility for civilian casualties on that flight rests with him, Rep. Jackie Speier of California explained.
“If what is being projected is true, this is yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States,” Speier said, according to a report from Mediaite.
Speier acknowledged the direct role that Iran played in the matter, and recognized that an individual Trump ordered to be assassinated late last week was a “bad actor.” But the decision to kill that Qasem Soleimani directly led to retaliatory measures from Tehran, which in turn resulted in the plane being downed by the firing of ballistic missiles.
Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier suggested Donald Trump was in part responsible for the suspected downing of a Ukraine International Airlines passenger plane by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. https://t.co/G8iSEJYO4U via @HuffPostPol
— Dushan (@Dushan41) January 10, 2020
“Iran has been a bad actor. Soleimani was a bad actor. But there are many people in that region and around the world who are bad actors. We have to find a way to live together and attempt to move towards peace,” Speier said.
American officials, as well as other Western allies, have concluded that the Iranian military was responsible for the plane crash during the launching of missiles that evening, the New York Times reported. All 176 individuals on board the plane perished as a result.
Although conclusions have been reached by the U.S. and its allies about Iran shooting the plane down (which many leaders acknowledged was probably an accidental, rather than purposeful action), Iranian leaders have denied their role in the downing of the aircraft, NBC News reported.