Ukrainian plane shot down: Iran says Ottawa has no right to speak
Steph Deschamps / June 25, 2021
Iran on Friday denied Ottawa the right to express its opinion on the case of the Ukrainian Boeing shot down in 2020 near Tehran after the publication of a Canadian report very critical of the Iranian authorities on this tragedy that killed 176 people.
Canada is not qualified to present reports or express its opinion on the issue of the Ukrainian airliner, the official Irna news agency quoted Mohsen Baharvand, deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, as saying. The part of the Canadian report that criticizes the technical aspect of the Iranian (investigation) report on (the air disaster) is unjustified and unacceptable, Irna added, citing the same source. The flight PS752 Tehran-Kiev of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) had crashed on January 8, 2020 shortly after takeoff with 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents in Canada. Three days later, the Iranian armed forces finally admitted to shooting down the plane by mistake. The missile strikes that brought down the plane were the result of a combination of recklessness, incompetence and disregard for human life on the part of Tehran, although there is no evidence of a premeditated act, said a Canadian report on the tragedy released Thursday. According to the Ottawa government, this document, prepared by Canadian experts from available information, judges that the official account of events provided by Iran is misleading and superficial.
But for the head of Canadian diplomacy, Marc Garneau, the facts are clear: Iran is responsible for the death of 176 innocent people, and the affected countries are waiting for Tehran's response to their demands for reparations. On the night of the tragedy, Iran's air defenses were on high alert. The Islamic Republic had just attacked a base used by the US army in Iraq in retaliation for the elimination five days earlier, in a US strike in Baghdad, of General Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Iran's regional strategy, and Tehran was expecting a response from Washington. In its final report on the tragedy unveiled in March, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) had cleared its armed forces. Ukraine had then denounced a cynical attempt to hide the real causes and Ottawa a report incomplete and without tangible evidence.