Politics

Canada demands answers from Iran after Ukraine jet downing report

By AFP

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Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne and Deputy Minister of Defence Jody Thomas listen as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference January 11th in Ottawa. [Dave Chan/AFP]

Canada said it was demanding answers from Iran over the mistaken downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet after Tehran's "limited" initial report failed to explain why it fired missiles at the plane.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's main airport on January 8th.

Iran admitted days later that its forces had accidentally shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800, killing all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadians.

The Canadian government said Sunday (August 23rd) it had received a copy of the Iranian report on the cockpit voice recorders.

"This preliminary report only provides limited and selected information regarding this tragic event," Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement.

"The report only mentions what transpired after the first missile strike but not the second and only confirms information that we already know."

"We expect the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide an answer on important questions of why the missiles were launched in the first place and why the air space was open," they added.

"These are the questions that Canada, Canadians and most importantly, the families of the innocent victims need answered."

Iranian officials on Sunday said the cockpit voice recorder showed the pilots were still alive after the first of two missiles hit the plane.

Iran, which has no means of decoding the black boxes, sent them to France for analysis in mid-July, nearly six months after the disaster.

'Shameful display'

An association of the victims' families slammed the Iranian report as a "ridiculous display of deceit and obscurantism" and called for those responsible for the missile strike to be brought to justice, al-Arabiya reported.

"This shameful display was devoid of any answers to concerns and questions that suggest the missile strike may have been intentional," the association said in a Monday statement quoted by al-Arabiya.

At the time of the incident, Tehran's air defences had been on high alert in case the US retaliated against Iranian strikes hours earlier on US troops in Iraq.

Those strikes were carried out in response to the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport.

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