“No one will assume responsibility for such a big lie once it is known that the claim had been fraudulent,” Rabiei said in a statement, according to Press TV.
“It is unfortunate that the psychological operation of the US government, and those supporting it knowingly and unknowingly, are adding insult to the injury of the bereaved families and victimizing them for certain goals by propagating such fallacies.”
Reports from the United States and its allies surfaced Thursday that the plane may have been shot down by surface-to-air missiles.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, said Thursday that intelligence showed the commercial aircraft was shot down. Both leaders said it may have been unintentional and called for an investigation.
Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, said the plane’s black boxes — which may contain data that would help investigators figure out what caused the crash — were damaged, so Tehran may need help decoding them.
Abedzadeh also cast doubt on conclusions the plane was shot down. “If a rocket or missile hits a plane, it will free fall,” he told CNN.
The exchange of attacks between Tehran and Washington — both on Iraqi soil — marked a dramatic escalation of tensions between the adversaries and raised fears of another proxy war in the Middle East.
Trump said in a statement Wednesday the strikes appeared to be the extent of Iran’s actions, but he also pledged more to enact more sanctions on the country.
CNN’s Jim Sciutto, Pamela Brown, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Paul P. Murphy contributed to this report