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AFP
January 10, 2020

Video: Iranian missile blamed for Ukrainian plane crash

National

AFP
January 10, 2020

OTTAWA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that Canada had intelligence from multiple sources indicating that a Ukrainian airliner which crashed outside Tehran was mistakenly shot down by Iran.

"We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile," Trudeau told reporters. "This may well have been unintentional," Trudeau added in a press conference.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for a "thorough" investigation of crash, the country´s deadliest since an Air India disaster in 1985 killed 268 Canadians

A total of 176 people, including 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, were killed when the plane came down shortly after take-off on Wednesday, shortly after Iran launched missiles towards bases in Iraq housing US troops.

Meanwhile, Ottawa called Thursday for its own experts be allowed to join the investigation into the crash of an airliner near Tehran that killed dozens of Canadian citizens of Iranian origin.

In a rare phone call with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif late Wednesday, Canada´s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called for Iran to allow Canadian investigators in to the country, the Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Minister Champagne stressed the need for Canadian officials to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash," the statement said. Champagne told Zarif that "Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered."

Such direct contact is rare since Canada broke off diplomatic ties in 2012 in protest at Tehran´s support for the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. The last time such a high-level contact was undertaken was in 2018, when Chrystia Freeland was serving as Canada´s foreign minister. She also met Zarif at the UN General Assembly meeting in 2017, the Canadian foreign ministry told AFP.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 went down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran airport, with no radio message from the pilot to indicate distress, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization said. The disaster unfolded after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at US military targets in Iraq in response to a US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.

"According to eyewitnesses, a fire was seen on board the plane which grew in intensity," the organization added in an initial statement Wednesday.

"There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile. This may well have been unintentional," Johnson in a statement on the air disaster in which four British passengers died.