According to investigative journalist Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat will check a version of a missile attack on a Ukrainian Boeing 737 in Tehran in connection with the appearance of a photograph of a rocket-like object allegedly found at the crash site.
Higgins made a post with a picture of the incident in his microblog on Twitter.
“Until the location of this debris is confirmed, which is next to impossible with this image, I would treat it with caution. There are other examples of this type of debris documented in other conflicts, so there's no way to know this is in Iran,” he wrote.
Higgins refers to the profile of Ashkan Monfared who posted the photo. Monfared, whose profile indicates an affiliation with the Iranian protest movement, claims that a rocket-like item was found at the crash site of the Ukrainian Boeing 737.
"This is a fragment found at the crash scene of a Ukrainian passenger plane that fell down in front of a resident's house.… Isn't that a rocket?" Monfared wrote.
Higgins reacted to the photo.
“The problem with this photo of the remains of an AA missile is it's been taken at an angle where it'll be next to impossible to geolocate, so unless another image appears which can be geolocated it won't be possible to verify it's in Iran.” he added.
Another journalist, Eric Toler, points to the similarity of the subject in the photo with the Russian air defense system "Thor" used by Iran.
"This is the original source of the photo being passed around, it was allegedly found near the PS752 flight. Speculation that it's a Tor-M (Ukrainian air defense system used by Iran https://t.co/HYwqHRnS9S)," Toler suggested.
As we reported earlier, Boeing 737 of Ukraine's International Airlines, flight PS 752 with 180 passengers aboard crashed in Tehran, not far from Imam Khomeini airport. Iranian Tasnim News Agency informed about that, pointing out that the reason for the crash was a "technical malfunction."
As of 7 a.m. January 8, the fate of passengers remained unknown. Local authorities feared that no one survived, because the plane was visibly on fire as it was falling, CGTN reported.