LA's Persian Community Mourns Victims of Shot-Down Ukrainian Jetliner

Persian communities overseas, in Canada, and here in Los Angeles gathered Friday night in mourning for the 176 people who perished aboard the jetliner that the Iranian military now acknowledges was shot down by missile fire -- an accident based on human error, Iran said.

Sadness was the overpowering emotion among the around 200 people who gathered outside the Federal Building in Westwood, but there was also anger over the circumstances of the loss of so many lives.

Amid flickering candles and beautiful roses were powerful photographs of the faces of so many, and mostly young, people. The mourners had connections so close to the victims, even half a world from Iran.

Ramona Rad remembered a friend from school in Iran, Sahand. It's been years since Rad came to LA and her friend Sahand moved to Toronto, married, and had a daughter, who was also on board when the plane was shot down. 

They had kept in touch through texting, and now Rad cherishes the last emoji she got.

 “She just sent me a smiley face," she said. The memory brought a smile to her own face. 

Farzan Massani, a writer, remembered a long-time friend’s wife and daughter. 


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"They went to Tehran for vacation," he said, and were on their way home to Toronto.

LA's Perisan community did not need to wait for the official acknowledgement of human error the Iranian military released.

"It just doesn't make sense that a mistake like this happens. That makes everybody actually angrier,” Peyman Raoofi, a psychologist, said before the announcement. 

In fact, this tragedy was not the first in the decades of tension between the U.S. and the Iranian theocracy. Thirty-two years ago, it was a missile from a U.S. warship fired in error that took down an Iranian airliner, killing 290 people.

"I just know we would have a more beautiful world if we don't have any war,” Rad said. 

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