Canadian investigators flying to Tehran on Monday will access the wreckage and black boxes from a Ukranian jetliner downed by a missile strike last week, officials said. “We don’t fully know what the scope of our investigation will be,” Transportation Safety Board (TSB) chair Kathy Fox told a press conference. However, she added, “there have been early signs that Iran is allowing the TSB to play a more active role than is normally permitted.”
Last week, Iran admitted that it shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8 killing 176 onboard. Two Canadian investigators were to land in Tehran within hours, followed by two more in the coming days or weeks.
They will also be allowed to visit the crash site and the wreckage of the plane that is being reassembled in a nearby hanger.
“We do know what has happened. What we don’t know is why it happened,” Fox commented before listing off questions surrounding the crash that still need to be answered.
‘Regretting’ the crash, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered ‘condolences’ to the families of the victims. “Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people. Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752 (sic),” Rouhani said on Twitter. “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said in another tweet.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif termed the development as ‘sad day’. Using a heartbreak emoji, Zarif tweeted, “A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”
Iran had denied for several days that a missile caused the crash. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot down the aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, a conclusion supported by videos of the incident. The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. The Canadian government had earlier lower the nation's death toll from 63.