In this photograph taken Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, Iranian police officers take position while protesters gather in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran, to remember victims of a Ukrainian airplane shot down by an Iranian missile. Online videos purported to show Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, that Iranian security forces fired both live ammunition and tear gas to disperse demonstrators protesting against the Islamic Republic's initial denial that it shot down a Ukrainian jetliner. (AP Photo)

Iran president: European troops in Mideast may be in danger

January 15, 2020 - 2:58 am

NEW DELHI (AP) — Iran’s president is warning that European soldiers deployed in the Mideast “may be in danger” after Britain, France and Germany challenged Tehran over breaking limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.

Hassan Rouhani made the comment Wednesday during a televised Cabinet meeting.

It comes after the nations started a dispute process over Iran breaking limits from the accord.

It marks the first time Rouhani has threatened Europe amid tensions with the U.S., which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 under President Donald Trump.

THIS IS A MAJOR NEWS UPDATE. AP's previous story is below.

Iran's top diplomat acknowledged Wednesday that Iranians “were lied to” for days following the Islamic Republic accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing 176 people.

The comments by Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi represent the first time an Iranian official referred to the earlier story that a technical malfunction downed the Ukraine International Airlines flight as a lie.

The shootdown has sparked days of angry protests in the country.

“In the last few nights, we’ve had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days,” Zarif said.

Zarif went onto praise Iran's military for being “brave enough to claim responsibility early on."

However, he said that he and President Hassan Rouhani only learned that a missile had down the flight on Friday, raising new questions over how much power Iran's civilian government has in its Shiite theocracy. Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which shot down the aircraft, knew immediately afterward its missile downed the airline.

The Guard is answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is expected to preside over Friday prayers in Iran for the first time in years over anger about the crash.

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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