Iran denies Ukrainian plane downed by missile

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2020

U.S. officials said on Thursday that the government believed Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner shortly after Iran fired missiles at two USA military bases in Iraq, while Iran was on high alert.

Although Iran made use of all its facilities to examine the content of the black box inside the country, the content will be sent to France so that any possible damage to the data would be avoided, Hassan Rezaeifar told state news agency IRNA.

He ended the tweet by saying, "We appreciate any country who can provide information to the committee in charge".

The Boeing 737 crashed on Wednesday (Jan 8) shortly after Tehran launched missiles at United States forces in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian general in a USA drone strike in Baghdad.

There were 176 people on board the aircraft - 167 passengers (including two Ukrainians) and nine crew (all Ukrainians).

Victims onboard flight PS752 included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from Sweden, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany. Those killed in the crash also include ten Swedes, four citizens of Afghanistan, three Germans, and three Britons.

US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believed the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Tehran.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he could not rule out a missile strike but this had not been confirmed.

"Our view on the crash underlines why we urgently now need an independent, full and transparent investigation to establish what caused it". Shortly after the incident western media - followed by top politicians, citing "intelligence data" - alleged that the aircraft might have been downed by an Iranian surface-to air-missile.

The pilot did not call the tower because "he must have been trying to save the airplane before anything else", Abedzadeh said.

An Iranian minister on Thursday rejected claims that the nation's missiles were responsible for the crash, reiterating that "technical failure" was the cause.

With tensions high between the United States and Iran, the disaster unfolded just hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles towards bases in Iraq housing USA troops.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it was making arrangements to tour the site after an Iranian invitation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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