The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, apologized in a televised address on Sunday two days after the military admitted it launched the missiles that brought down a Ukrainian jetliner near Tehran.
Tehran's admission that it had mistaken the jetliner for a U.S. cruise missile quieted growing criticisms from abroad but ignited a domestic backlash that caught the government by surprise.
General Salami urged Iranians to return to the nationalist zeal that filled the country after the U.S. drone attack on top Iranian military chief General Qasem Soleimani earlier this month.
The appeal follows protests in at least a dozen cities in Iran mourning the victims and expressing outrage over the downing of the plane, which killed all 176 people on board.
The protesters were angry that the government had taken so long to admit it had accidentially shot down the plane, seen as a move to avoid greater international isolation.
Witnesses have said several people were wounded in Tehran as security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that Americans are following the protests and are inspired bythe courage of the Iranian people.
Meanwhile, attacks continue on military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops.
Several rockets landed Sunday in the Iraqi military's al-Balad airbase, north of Baghdad, resulting in no casualties but wounding at least four Iraqi soldiers.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that he's "outraged by reports of another rocket attack."
He said he's praying for the speedy recovery of the injured, and he called on the Iraqi government to hold the attackers accountable.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.