Iran asks US, France for equipment to download downed plane's black boxes

Elias Hubbard
January 21, 2020

"At first they stated that they were handing them over, then the same person stated that they were not handing them over", Prystayko said.

"We hope that we would be able... to discuss practical issues including the return of the black boxes", Prystaiko said.

The plane was shot almost four hours after the Iranian military fired dozens of missiles at the US airbase in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad five days earlier. According to reports, Iran had agreed to return the black boxes to Ukraine but later denied the reports and claimed that it was trying to analyze the black boxes itself.

It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts. Iran has admitted to shooting it down by mistake in the tense hours after it launched missiles at US targets in Iraq in response to the killing of its general in Baghdad.

The black box of a Ukrainian passenger plane that was mistakenly downed near Tehran is still in Iran and no decision has been made to send it overseas, a civil aviation official said. Officials say lower-level officers mistook the plane for a USA cruise missile.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko had earlier said the minister had come to Kiev to "officially apologise" after Iran admitted that it mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian jet. Otherwise, Ukraine and France are our options, but no decision has yet been made to send them to another country, "he added".

The aviation body said Iran had asked for equipment from the US National Transportation Safety Board and France's accident agency BEA but said Tehran had not received a positive response.

Meanwhile, at a memorial event in Montreal, some of the victims' families expressed frustration over the lack of answers. "We must know what happened", it quoted Zelenskiy as telling the Iranian minister.

Iran initially denied hat it fired missiles at the plane but following worldwide pressure it later admitted anti-aircraft fire from the country's Revolutionary Guard had been to blame.

"That's the only thing that can make our lives a bit calmer", he said. "Everything has changed now".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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