Iran warns Canada over ‘politicizing’ plane crash

June 25, 2021 - 19:33

TEHRAN— Tehran has warned the Canadian government against political exploitation of the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, saying Canada has no judicial qualification to issue unilateral or arbitrary reports on issues within the jurisdiction of another country.

“Every aviation novice knows that the views of Canada as a consultant to Ukraine have been received and taken into account, and therefore, Canada is judicially unqualified to make unilateral and arbitrary reports or comments on air accident reports within the jurisdiction of another country,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohsen Baharvand said on Friday.

Making a reference to Canada’s latest report on the incident, Baharvand said even the Canadians have admitted that the downing of the plane by Iran’s military was not intentional.

Canada admitted in a report published on Wednesday that it had found “no evidence” after eight months of investigation that the incident was “premeditated”.

“While the Forensic Team found no evidence that the downing of Flight PS752 was premeditated, this in no way absolves Iran of its responsibility for the death of 176 innocent people,” CBC News reported, citing an unclassified report on the circumstances and causes of the aircraft’s destruction.

The report came a month after a Canadian court ruled that the incident was deliberate and claimed it was an “act of terrorism.”

On January 8, 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, en route to Kiev while carrying mostly Iranians, crashed minutes after takeoff near the Iranian capital, killing all of the 176 passengers on board.

Despite admitting that the incident was not intentional, the Canadian government’s report went on to put the blame on Iranian civil and military authorities for causing “a dangerous situation” that led to the downing of the plane.

However, the report failed to mention the United States’ assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3, 2020, which in turn set in train a series of events that led to the downing of the plane.

Amid soaring tensions after the ill-advised Soleimani assassination, the Islamic Republic retaliated by firing missiles at an American base in Iraq on January 8, 2020.
Tehran has said the Ukrainian plane was downed accidentally by the operator of a surface-to-air-missile system soon after Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes, which put the country’s military on the highest state of defensive alert as well as preparedness for a full-fledged war with the U.S.

Baharvand said part of the report which criticized Iran’s final report on the incident is “technically baseless” and therefore “unacceptable” because Iran had sent the draft for comment to other countries, whose responses were included in the final report.

“Everyone should know that experts from the United States, Britain, and France, with whom we may have political differences, have kept their opinions in a professional manner and have commented positively on and appreciated the professional conduct of our country’s accident investigation team,” he said.

He pointed out that the incident was neither the first nor will it be the last plane crash in the world.

The senior diplomat also maintained that the global civilian aviation industry would be harmed if such acts of politicization by the Canadian government becomes the norm in the world.

“Imagine that in any aviation incident, other countries ignore regulations and protocols of investigating the incident and take measures outside the available frameworks to try to put unilateral political pressure on the country where the incident occurred,” Baharvand regretted.

“According to the Chicago Convention, if they had new information, they should have provided it to the Iranian investigation team instead of fomenting useless media and political commotion,” he added.

Iran has repeatedly denounced politicizing the case by certain countries, including Canada and Ukraine.

Back in March, Tehran published the final results of its investigation into the causes of the incident. In the report, Iran’s civil aviation agency again concluded that human error was behind the incident.

“Following a tactical relocation, the relevant ADU (air defense unit) failed to adjust the system direction due to human error, causing the operator to observe the target flying west from IKA (airport) as a target approaching Tehran from the southwest at a relatively low altitude,” Iran’s report said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Baharvand pointed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s threat to take Iran to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, saying such remarks are “immature” and are based on pressures from Canadian politicians.

“They tried to exploit the incident to create a status for themselves in the eyes of the public, but of course, they couldn’t,” he said.
The diplomat said Iran has the evidence and is capable of defending itself in any court of justice.

“Of course, if Canada or any other country interacts with Iran within the framework of law and mutual respect, as is customary in diplomatic and international relations, they will receive Iran’s constructive response,” he added.
 

SA/PA

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