Now there is a furor inside and outside of Iran. And some people now want their leader to step down. They could deny it forever. Now they having such backlash. Did they make it to put fault on US (because they freaked them out), does it outweigh the backlash? Interesting that nobody thought it's good idea (to recognize fault) regarding MH17 brought down over Ukraine.

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    this looks suspiciously like a question asking for the motivations of a person or government, which are off limit, IIRC. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Jan 11 '20 at 20:20
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    any answer is going to be very opinion-driven, with little to back it up. 5 yrs from now, in a more open society, maybe we'd know more. with secretive Iran? probably still in the dark. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Jan 12 '20 at 1:31
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    "They could deny it forever", but denying something in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence just makes you look really stupid. – jamesqf Jan 13 '20 at 2:03
  • @jamesqt I don't think anybody cares about looking stupid, it's called propaganda I suppose, politicians tell ridiculous conspiracies. People would tell the west is lying, we trust Iran, it says it had nothing to do with the plane.". – R S Jan 15 '20 at 5:40

Iran depends a lot on the international community in its struggle against the US' maximum pressure campaign. The US is rather isolated in its anti-Iran campaign due to having left the nuclear deal, so it would likely jump on Iran's denials in the face of overwhelming evidence to get to an anti-Iran coalition for this specific issue. By taking responsibility for the disaster, Iran can deny the US this opportunity.

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    equally possible is that Iran didn't think they could get away with a coverup. we just don't know. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Jan 11 '20 at 22:11
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica Either way it's about denying/minimising USA's use of this issue as diplomatic weapon. – M i ech Jan 15 '20 at 11:08

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