The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnès Callamard, said Iran had violated the right to life of the passengers and crew onboard the Ukrainian passenger plane which was shot down by the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in early 2020.
Callamard delivered a 45-page report to the Iranian government that was made public on Tuesday, outlining her findings from a six-month investigation into the incident.
"The inconsistencies in the official explanations seem designed to create a maximum of confusion and a minimum of clarity. They seem contrived to mislead and bewilder," the UN expert said in her report.
"In situations of high military tension, the most effective means to prevent attacks on civil aviation is to close the airspace," she said, adding that "had Iran, knowing full well that hostilities with the US could readily escalate, closed its airspace for civilian traffic that evening, 176 human beings would not have been killed."
Days after denying responsibility for the accident, Iranian authorities said military personnel mistook the civilian aircraft for a US missile and fired the two missiles that killed all 176 passengers onboard.