Trouble in Tehran, questions in DC

Crisis in the Middle East

(CNN) – Iranian leaders are designating the Pentagon a “terrorist” organization, as tensions between the United States and Iran seem to be simmering – but not altogether cooled.

The development comes as Tehran admits its forces shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, but blames the U.S. for ramping up aggression.

The lead European aviation agency recommends commercial flights avoid flying above Iran, a sign they think the situation in the Middle East remains volatile after a Ukrainian plane was shot down last Wednesday.

Families of the 176 victims are demanding change.

“I hope as an outcome, there will be some preventive measure put in place so this tragedy will never, ever happen to another family ever again,” said Navaz Ebrahim, whose sister and brother-in-law were both killed in the crash.

Over the weekend, Iranian officials admitted to shooting down the passenger jet, mistaking it for a cruise missile.

Protestors in Iran took to the streets and denounced their government’s actions, but some joined Iranian officials who blame the U.S. for creating a war-like atmosphere.

“It was my dismay for them to blame it as an American propaganda and mechanical failure, and they did the right thing to admit it and bring in the investigators to take responsibility,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Back in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to testify at a hearing on the hill this week focusing on Iran.

Some lawmakers voiced skeptism that an Iranian threat against the United States was imminent.

“I think that it was both the lack of transparency as well as the nature of the threat that there wasn’t consistent information,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamourthi (D) Illinois.

President Donald Trump via Twitter reiterated his administration made the right decision, saying “I did what should have been done for 20 years.”

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