Iran accused of stalling redress for downed Ukraine flight

·2 min read
People hold signs with images of the victims of the downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, which was shot down near Tehran by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, as family and friends gather to take part in a march to mark the first anniversary, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on January 8, 2021 (AFP/Cole Burston)

Canada, Britain, Sweden and Ukraine on Wednesday accused Iran of stalling redress for the families of victims of a downed Ukraine flight, saying Tehran has yet to agree to talks.

The Islamic republic shot down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shortly after take-off from its capital Tehran on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people aboard, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Three days later, it admitted that its forces had mistakenly targeted the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 plane.

"We, ministers representing Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, express our deep disappointment that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not accepted our multiple requests to meet on November 22, 2021 to negotiate on the matter of reparations for the downing of Flight PS752," the four nations said in a joint statement.

On Friday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly spoke with her British counterpart Elizabeth Truss, and committed jointly "to seeking justice by holding Iran accountable."

The four nations seeking redress said Wednesday that if Iran continues "to avoid negotiating with the group, (they) will have no choice but to seriously consider other actions and measures to resolve this matter within the framework of international law."

On Sunday, the trial of 10 soldiers in connection to the jetliner's downing opened in Tehran.

In a final report in March, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO) pointed to the missile strikes and the "alertness" of its troops on the ground amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States at the time.

The Islamic republic had just attacked a US base in Iraq in response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, and were expecting a response from Washington.

Ukraine, which lost 11 citizens in the disaster, said the report was "a cynical attempt to hide (the) true causes" of the tragedy, while Canada said it contained "no hard facts or evidence" and pledged to soon release the results of its own investigation.

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