“I found out within an hour after the crash. My friend, an Iranian, came to me and showed photos from local Iranian social networks; the media hadn’t written yet, no one had information,” Buzarov said.
Finally, he was able to make a Facebook post by using a virtual private network, or VPN, which creates encrypted links between computers, “and then she calmed down," he said.
Buzarov, a specialist in Middle East affairs and a consultant to the Ukrainian parliament, had been invited to Iran for an international conference run by the country's foreign ministry.
The crowds of mourners showed “the colossal unity of the Iranians against the Americans. Many people craved revenge,” he said. “But when the events related to the plane took place, I saw that opinions changed.”
The gravity of the crash took time to register with many Iranians, partly because little information was officially reported, he said.
“For the first hours, people did not realize the seriousness of the situation, and only in the evening when the data were published and the Iranians themselves realized that there was an absolute majority of ethnic Iranians (on the plane), then people began to understand this catastrophe,” he said. Most of those killed were Iranians and Iranian-Canadians.
“Young people do not understand why they (Iran's government) did not immediately talk about it, if many knew that it was shot down," he said. “These protests show a certain degree of mistrust on the part of the younger generation towards politicians inside Iran.”
Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this story