Iran has agreed to send the black boxes from the Ukrainian passenger plane that its military accidentally shot down this month to Ukraine for investigation, an Iranian news agency has reported.
- Iranian authorities say they are prepared for France, Canada and the US to examine data from the black boxes
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says France has expertise to read the damaged flight and cockpit data recorders
- It took days for Iran to admit its military accidentally shot down the plane
The Iranian authorities are also prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine the data from the boxes, the semi-official Tasnim agency said.
All 176 people aboard the plane were killed when the Ukrainian International Airlines flight was shot down on January 8 shortly after take-off from Tehran en route to the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
“With the use of the expertise of the countries of France, Canada and America we will try to read the [flight data recorder] in Kiev,” Hassan Rezaifar, a director in charge of accident investigations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation was quoted as saying by Tasnim.
“If this effort is unsuccessful then the black box will be sent to France.”
The black boxes will not be read in Iran, Mr Rezaifar said, according to Tasnim.
Fifty-seven of the dead were Canadian. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been pressing for a full investigation into the plane downing, said on Friday that Iran should send the black boxes to France for analysis.
France was one of the few countries with the ability to read the flight and cockpit data recorders from the jet, which were badly damaged, Mr Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa.
Iran has faced a deepening crisis abroad and at home over the plane disaster, with authorities taking several days to announce that its military had accidentally shot down the plane after initial denials.
Earlier, Iranian demonstrators took to the streets demanding the resignation of senior leaders over their role in the disaster.
People gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash at Amri Kabir University in Tehran. (AP: Ebrahim Noroozi)
US President Donald Trump, who has expressed support for past waves of anti-government demonstrations in Iran, addressed the country’s leaders in a tweet, saying “DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS.”
“The World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching,” he tweeted.
The downing occurred as Iran was on high alert for possible retaliatory action following its strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops.
The action was in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard commander General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.
American allies have avoided blaming the Trump administration, but Mr Trudeau said the crash victims would be alive today if tensions had not escalated in the region.