Downed plane’s black box will not be sent abroad: Tehran

January 22, 2020 - 19:3

TEHRAN — Transportation Minister Mohammad Eslami said on Wednesday that the black box of the downed Ukrainian plane will not be transferred abroad, Mehr reported.

“If the examination team cannot decipher the data, another decision will be made,” Eslami told reporters after a cabinet session.

Eslami, who traveled to Ukraine on Monday as President Rouhani’s special representative, said he conveyed the condolences of the president to the Ukrainian government and nation during his trip.

He said he met with top Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, and discussed issues surrounding the plane crash.

“They thanked Iran’s special cooperation and collaboration, and [we] delivered the president’s promise to transfer the victims’ bodies to Ukraine,” he explained.

Zelensky said on Monday that Iran had complied with most arrangements in the matter of clarifying the circumstances of the plane crash.

“Everything we talked about with the president of Iran was mainly done,” he said during a meeting with Eslami.

During the meeting, Zelensky stressed the need for a further effective investigation into the crash.

He said Ukraine had the necessary technical means and experienced specialists to perform this work properly.

The parties agreed that all remnants of the aircraft preserved after the accident should be returned to Ukraine.

They also raised the issue of compensation to the relatives of those killed in the plane crash and the creation of a joint investigation team.

The parties expressed their condolences over the deaths of the citizens of Ukraine and Iran.

The Ukrainian passenger plane, with 176 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on January 8 near Tehran by the air defense system.

The victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.

The Iranian military announced on January 11 morning that the plane had been mistaken for a cruise missile. The incident took place on January 8, nearly four hours after Iran fired missiles at a major U.S. airbase in retaliation for the assassination of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The military has been put on high alert due to the situation. 

On Friday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “The plane crash was a bitter incident.”

“To the same extent we grieved over the plane incident, the enemies cheered,” he said.

“There are ambiguities in the plane incident. We thank the commanders for explaining it to the people, but this issue must be pursued and reoccurrence of similar incidents must be prevented seriously,” the Leader added.

Meanwhile, Iran has invited manufacturer Boeing and Airbus to take part in the investigation into the Ukrainian passenger jet.

In a statement run by the IRNA news agency earlier this month, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said Iran “has invited both Ukraine and the Boeing company to participate in the investigations.”

Mousavi said Iran will also welcome experts from other nations whose citizens died in the crash.

MH/PA

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