With days left to the third anniversary of the downing of a Ukrainian airliner by the IRGC, many activists and bereaved families have called for rallies to mark the occasion. 

Dozens of groups urged people in Iran and abroad to hold mourning ceremonies as well as street rallies and strikes on January 8 to also honor civilians killed by the Revolutionary Guards, and condemn the human rights violations by the regime. Following the downing of Flight PS 752, the Islamic Republic tried to deny the incident for a few days before it was forced to admit that an air defense unit had fired two missiles at the airliner over Tehran. 

In a statement, titled “This is no time for grief but for wrath,” at least a dozen rights groups said that three years ago following the incident, protests took place against the regime but now condemnations should be louder and heard everywhere. 

"It's been more than three months that a huge revolution has begun to liberate women and all people suffering under oppression and exploitation in the shackles of the criminal rule - a revolution whose motto is "women, life, freedom" and one of its main goals is the downfall of the Islamic Republic. In the three months since the beginning of our revolution, the Islamic Republic has committed more crimes against the revolutionaries, teenagers, young people and protesters,” read the statement.

The crash site of flight PS752 near Tehran on January 8, 2020

The Association of Progressive Students, Alliance of Doctors, the Union of Doctors and Medical Staff, the Freedom-loving students of Noshirvani University of Babol, the National Committee of Kordestan Province Students, the Association of Revolutionary Students of Tehran, the Alliance of Esfahan University of Technology, and many other are among the signatories of the call for action.

"Now we all have come to believe that we can overthrow the Islamic Republic and bring its big and small officials to justice,” they added.

On Sunday, Hamed Esmaeilion, the Canada-based activist whose daughter and wife were killed in the incident and serves as the spokesman for the families of Iranian victims of Ukrainian flight PS752, also called for a symbolic action on January 7. Noting that there is a graveyard that bears the bodies of the Islamic regime’s victims, he said, “we will lay flowers on the graves of all the victims of the Islamic Republic in the world.” 

Last week, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine formally launched a process to hold the Islamic Republic accountable for shooting down the Ukrainian airliner over Tehran, urging the Islamic Republic to agree to arbitration as Tehran has stonewalled over an independent investigation and proper compensation.

The airliner was shot down by two air-defense missiles fired by the IRGC as it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. Hours earlier, the IRGC had fired more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US troops in retaliation for the killing of the IRGC Quds Force Commander Ghasem Soleimani who was targeted by a US drone strike just five days earlier. All 176 passengers and crew, including 63 Canadians and 10 from Sweden, as well as 82 Iranian citizens on the plane died in the disaster.

This year, the anniversary for the victims is taking place as the current wave of antigovernment protests ignited by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini is raging on for over 100 days across the country. The protest rallies show no sign of abating as the regime has killed over 500 people and Iranians.

G4 Protest Special - Morning (2023)
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G4 Protest Special - Morning (2023)

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