Air tragedy: Iran is ready to compensate relatives of dead passengers

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Iran is ready to start negotiations to pay “full compensation” for the relatives of 176 people who died in a Ukraine International Airlines plane that was shot down by mistake by the Iranian army on January 8 in Tehran.

Iranian Civil Aviation Organization chief Touraj Dehqani Zangeneh told Iran’s state-run news agency Irna on Saturday that his country intends to discuss the issue in October during a meeting in Tehran with its Ukrainian counterparts.

There were 57 Canadians and 29 people with permanent resident status in Canada among the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

“What is evident is that Iran has accepted responsibility for its mistake and therefore the country is ready for negotiations to pay full compensation for what it has done,” said Touraj Dehqani Zangeneh in an exclusive interview with the Irna agency.

He specified that the payment will be made according to the framework of international law and without any discrimination towards a particular group affected by the tragedy.

The Iranian civil aviation chief stressed that his country’s deputy foreign minister, Mohsen Baharvand, has already held meetings with Ukrainian authorities.

This tragedy occurred minutes after the Ukrainian International Airlines plane took off from Tehran International Airport. Everyone in the aircraft was killed after two Iranian air defense missiles mistakenly hit the aircraft.

The Iranian army was then on high alert, because the Islamic Republic had fired missiles at an Iraqi base housing American soldiers in order to avenge the death of the powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad January 3.

The Iranian government initially denied having been responsible for the disaster, before changing its mind three days later.

The black boxes of the plane were finally analyzed in Paris, France by the French authorities because Iran did not have the expertise to do so. Canada must have put pressure on Iran to obtain the data from these black boxes. The Iranian regime has, however, mentioned that the COVID-19 crisis has delayed the transfer of the recordings to a European country so that they can be analyzed.

Iran claimed on Sunday that the pilot of the plane was still alive after the first missile hit. Analysis of the black boxes did not reveal why the Iranian authorities made this fatal mistake, however.

Members of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) visited Iran as well as Ukraine as part of their investigation into the tragedy.

Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom are part of the International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of flight PS752. They called on Iran to shed light on this catastrophe.

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