Iran’s military says it “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, Iran’s state TV reports.
The statement said it had done so due to “human error” after the plane flew close to a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Those responsible would be held accountable, the statement said.
Iran had previously rejected suggestions that one of its missiles brought down the plane near the capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.
But pressure mounted after the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran had shot down the plane with a missile, possibly accidently.
The downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 with the loss of 176 lives came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.
The Ukrainian flight, which was headed to the Canadian city of Toronto via the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, came down near Imam Khomeini Airport shortly after take off.
US media had speculated that the Ukrainian airliner may have been mistaken for a warplane as Iran prepared for possible US retaliation.
The Iranian air strikes were launched in retaliation to the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone attack on 3 January.
In a tweet on Saturday, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested “US adventurism” was partly to blame for the downing of the Ukrainian jet.
As the evidence pointing to a missile strike built, Iran promised a full investigation. But on Thursday, TV images from the crash site showed a mechanical digger helping to clear debris away, raising concerns that important evidence could have been removed.
On Friday, Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne warned Iran that “the world is watching”, telling it that the families of those on board “want the truth”.
His warning came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had received intelligence from multiple sources indicating that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
Video obtained by the New York Times appeared to show a missile streaking across the night sky over Tehran and then exploding on contact with a plane. About 10 seconds later a loud explosion is heard on the ground. The plane, ablaze, continues to fly.