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Iran’s civil aviation chief rejected as ‘scientifically impossible’ reports that the Ukrainian plane that crashed near Tehran was hit by missiles.

“Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane,” Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s of Civil Aviation Organization, said on Thursday, calling “such rumors ‘illogical

RT reports: Citing anonymous Pentagon and intelligence officials, US media have reported that the Boeing 737 was “highly likely” brought down by Iranian air defenses. The Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 crashed within minutes of departing Tehran, just hours after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired two volleys of missiles at US targets inside Iraq, as reprisal for last week’s assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.

Even US President Donald Trump seemed to speculate about a missile in a speech on Thursday, though did not blame the Iranian military but said that “somebody could have made a mistake.”

Iranian civil aviation authorities considered the possibility that the plane was shot down, but dismissed it because the plane attempted to return to the airport. Ukrainian officials cited a photo of missile debris that “was published on the internet” as possible evidence of an attack, but Iranian authorities say the photos do not match physical evidence.

“No parts of a missile were found at the scene of the crash,” civil aviation inspector Hassan Rezaeifar told the IRNA news agency, describing the missile scenario as “off the table.”

A preliminary Iranian report suggested that the plane caught fire and tried to turn around before crashing. All 176 people on board were killed, including 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians.