REPORT: US Claim of Ukrainian Boeing 737 Plane Being Hit by Missile Aims to Manipulate Stock Markets

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WASHINGTON, D.C./TEHRAN – The US allegations that a Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 aircraft crashed in Tehran after being hit by a missile have been assessed by analysts as an effort to manipulate the stock market; a measure that would both overshadow US failures in Iraq and save Boeing from bankruptcy.

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On Wednesday, Boeing’s shares plummeted by 2.3 percent ($3.4bn) after the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 aircraft crashed in Tehran due to encountering a technical glitch. On Thursday, the stock rose by 3 percent after unnamed Pentagon officials claimed that the Ukrainian passenger plane was most likely brought down by anti-aircraft missiles, and US President Donald Trump implicitly supported the claim.

This has been read by analysists as an attempt to manipulate the stock market; a measure that would both overshadow US failures in Iraq and save Boeing from bankruptcy. An article by Reuters published on 12 March 2019 discussed the close ties between Boeing and the US government after the 737 MAX plane crashed in Ethiopia that killed 157 people.

The Ethiopian crash followed one of a 737 MAX five months ago in Indonesia that killed 189 people. The article mentioned that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told US President Donald Trump, an aviation enthusiast, that the aircraft was safe and did not need to be grounded. Later in the day, aviation officials repeated that US flights of the plane would continue.

Trump has used Boeing products and sites as a backdrop for major announcements over the course of his presidency, according to the article. State Department has also put pressure on US allies to buy products from Boeing, the country’s second-largest defense contractor which received $104 billion in unclassified defense contracts between 2014 and 2018.

Boeing is also one of the largest US exporters to China, and Muilenburg told an aviation summit in Washington that purchases of its US-made aircraft by China could be part of a sweeping trade deal currently being negotiated, according to Reuters’ article.

Meanwhile, Iran’s civil aviation chief has rejected as “illogical rumors” reports that the Ukrainian plane that crashed south of the capital Tehran was hit by missiles.

“We can say that the airplane, considering the kind of the crash and the pilot’s efforts to return it to Imam Khomeini airport, didn’t explode in the air. So, the allegation that it was hit by missiles is totally ruled out,” the official noted.

A Boeing 737 plane carrying 180 passengers and crew, mostly Iranians, crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran on Wednesday, leaving no survivors. Technical difficulties were cited as the cause of the crash. The Ukrainian embassy in Iran ruled out the possibility of an attack on the plane.

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