Canada’s transport minister said Wednesday his country is demanding official status in Iran’s investigation of the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines jet in Tehran last week. 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.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau said, the plane’s “black boxes” are in Iranian hands, but another two investigators are ready to go wherever and whenever the recorders are examined.
Meanwhile, Canada is organizing a meeting in London today with representatives from several countries that lost citizens in the crash, to co-ordinate dealings with Iran.
‘Regretting’ the crash, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had 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.”
On Wednesday, Iran has arrested the person who videographed and posted online the clip of a missile striking the jet. Without proving much details about the arrest, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that the investigation will be presented to the public.