International

Western nations believe Iran shot down Ukrainian jetliner

Western nations believe Iran shot down Ukrainian jetliner
A video posted online by news outlets appeared to show a missile striking a plane over Tehran.
OTTAWA, JAN 10 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 1/10/2020 12:53:27 PM IST

It is “highly likely” that Iran shot down the civilian Ukrainian jetliner that crashed near Tehran late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board, U.S., Canadian and British officials declared Thursday. They said the fiery missile strike could well have been a mistake amid rocket launches and high tension throughout the region.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said multiple intelligence sources indicated that Iran shot down the Ukrainian airliner after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 on board, including 63 Canadians.

Trudeau’s comments came as video emerged that appeared to show the moment the airliner was hit.

That and other footage posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran’s air defence batteries in bringing down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 early on Wednesday. The video, which The New York Times said it verified, shows a fast-moving object rising at an angle into the sky before a bright flash is seen, which dims and then continues moving forward. Several seconds later an explosion is heard.

Trudeau was backed by other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said mounting evidence supported a missile strike, which “may well have been unintentional”.

US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believed the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Tehran.

Iran denies allegations 

Iran on Friday denied Western allegations that one of its own missiles downed a Ukrainian jetliner and called on the US and Canada to share any information they have on the crash.

“What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s national aviation department, told a press conference.

“If they are really sure, they should come and show their findings to the world” in accordance with international standards, he said.

Hassan Rezaeifar, head of Iranian investigation team, said recovering data from black box flight recorders could take more than a month, adding that entire investigation could stretch into next year. He also said Iran may request help from international experts if it is not able to extract flight recordings. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Iran “has invited both Ukraine and the Boeing company to participate in the investigations”.

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