Iran to send France Ukraine airline black boxes ‘soon’: Trudeau

Ottawa (AFP)

Iran has said it will “soon” send France the black boxes of a Ukrainian jetliner its forces mistakenly shot down in January, Canada’s prime minister said Tuesday.

“The black boxes are supposed to be sent to France soon,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a daily briefing, adding that the coronavirus pandemic had delayed the handover.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he raised the analysis of the black boxes in a telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky "a couple of days ago"
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he raised the analysis of the black boxes in a telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “a couple of days ago” Dave Chan AFP/File

“We’re going to continue to put pressure on the Iranian regime alongside our international partners to get answers, to get justice, to get compensation for the families,” he added.

The prime minister said he raised the analysis of the black boxes in a telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “a couple of days ago.”

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was struck by two missiles and crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s airport on January 8.

The Islamic republic admitted days later that its forces accidentally shot down the Kiev-bound jetliner, killing all 176 people on board.

Tehran’s air defenses had been on high alert at the time in case the US retaliated against Iranian strikes hours earlier on American troops stationed in Iraq.

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

The black boxes are expected to contain information about the last moments before the aircraft was struck.

Many of those on board the downed airliner were Canadian, and Ottawa has demanded for months that Iran, which does not have the technical means to decode the black boxes, send the items abroad so that their content can be analyzed.

On Monday, Iran said the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen most international flights canceled, had slowed its plans to send the black boxes overseas.

“From the first days of this painful incident, we announced our readiness to cooperate in investigating the black boxes of the Ukrainian plane,” Iran government spokesman Ali Rabiei said.

He said they would be sent to either Ukraine or France to be read, adding: “We will resume this process with the gradual resumption of international flights and the clarification of the results of the negotiations” between Iran and others involved in the process.

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