"This was a complicated situation in a complicated time. Others needed much more time. Almost 32 years ago, the US shot down an Iranian passenger plane. As of today, they still haven't issued an official apology. The American officer who was responsible for shooting it down even received a medal. Meanwhile, the Iranian man who shot down the Ukrainian plane is now in prison", Zarif said in a Friday interview with the magazine, answering the question on why it took the Iranian government three days to admit that its own military had shot down the plane.
The foreign minister added that people, indeed, had the right to complain that the information was not immediately disclosed, but it was not the government's fault.
"That was the point at which the higher-ups in the military reached the final conclusion that this was done by somebody by mistake", the top diplomat added.
When asked whether an international investigation into the crash was planned to be conducted, Zarif said that the Iranian side had invited the Ukrainians to be part of it.
"We are open to the participation of others. We are carrying out a proper investigation based on international requirements", the Iranian foreign minister said.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed near Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport minutes after take-off on 8 January.
All 176 people on board were killed, including citizens of Ukraine, Iran, Canada, Afghanistan, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Three days later, the Iranian military admitted to unintentionally downing the jetliner, having confused it with a hostile cruise missile.