UA Iranian student association memorializes victims of downed Ukrainian jet

Iranian students memorialize victims of flight shot down by Iranian missiles

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More than 170 people aboard a plane en route from Iran to Ukraine was shot down by Iranian missiles. Oceans away, the loss is felt by students at the University of Arizona.

It was a normal Wednesday for many students at the UA, as they returned to school from winter break, but the mood was somber for students with the UA Iranian Student Cultural Association.

News of flight PS752 that Iranian officials say was shot down accidentally, is still top of the mind.

“It’s terrible,” Arash Nikvar, president of the Iranian Student Cultural Association, said. “I can hardly explain the feeling of how sad it is.”

Nikvar organized a memorial, calling the plane crash a great loss to the community. Candles, white roses and pictures of the lives lost covered a small table on the UA Mall.

Many on the flight were students — just like Nikvar and Nazanin Mardi.

“It’s really upsetting,” Mardi , a member of the group, said. “They’re too young to die like that.”

Her parents live in Iran and are planning to visit the U.S. in just a couple of weeks, she said. However, sense of worry hangs in the air between them.

“Is this going to happen to them? They’re coming in two weeks … I’m more worried than usual,” Mardi said.

Farhad Akhoundi can understand Mardi’s worry. Looking at pictures strewn on the table, he sees people who went to his school in Iran.

His family also lives in the country.

“They’re calling me every day saying, ‘don’t fly back to Iran, there might be something happening here soon,’ but I can’t just forget about all my family. I have to go back and visit them because these are my parents, my brothers, my sisters,” Akhoundi said.

These students said they want to spread love in the world instead of hate.

“We need more love in this world. Fear causes a lot of damages to a lot of people,” said Akhoundi.

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