Iran slams Canadian suits over downed Ukrainian plane as politically-motivated

September 11, 2020 - 16:34

TEHRAN — Tehran has reacted to reports of Canadian lawsuits delivered to Iran over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane by the Iranian military in January.

In a statement on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran learned about the reports in media, emphasizing that the Foreign Ministry has not received any complaint nor will it receive one.

“Regardless of whether or not the story is true, any individual familiar with the basics of international law knows that a Canadian court is not competent to act with regards to an incident which was outside its jurisdiction,” Khatibzadeh said, according to the Foreign Ministry website. 

The National Post reported on Tuesday that the Canadian federal government has confirmed to lawyers that it delivered two class-action lawsuits to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, clearing a roadblock for the civil suits to move ahead in Canadian courts.

“I’m delighted that Global Affairs Canada, after having this claim in their possession for eight months, has finally figured out a way to serve it on Iran,” said Mark Arnold, the lawyer spearheading one of the suits.

The Canadian lawyer also said he has sent copies of the suits to various Iranian officials including the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior officers of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

According to Khatibzadeh, the case is being simultaneously followed up on two fronts seriously and carefully: talks with the Ukrainian government and judicial proceedings inside Iran.

“As for the Ukrainian government, this issue (the plane crash) has been discussed within the framework of international conventions and accords accepted by Iran, and a Ukrainian delegation will soon come to Iran to move forward with the talks,” he explained. 

He added that the case is being reviewed by a competent court inside Iran as well, and any real person or legal entity can refer to that court if they have any complaints.

“If the Canadian government really wants to help the bereaved families of [the victims of] the incident, it should stop such politically-tainted shows,” the spokesman maintained.

The Ukrainian airliner was shot down shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport on January 8, killing all 167 passengers and 9 crew members.

On January 11, the Armed Forces General Staff released a statement saying the plane was mistakenly downed near the airport. 

The incident happened a few hours after Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles at a U.S. airbase inside Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

The airplane had been mistaken for an invading missile.

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

MH/PA

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