Iran confirms 2 Russian-made missiles fired at Ukraine jet

Published On January 21, 2020 | By Zee Zaman | News
Debris from the Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752, Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed after take-off from Iran’s Imam Khomeini airport, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020. via REUTERS
Zainab Zaman

Iran acknowledged on Tuesday its armed forces fired two Russian-made missiles at a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed and killed all 176 people on board amid heightened tensions with the United States.

A new preliminary report released from Iran identifies the missiles fired at the aircraft as the TOR-M1 surface-to-air missles. However, the report said, “the impact of these missiles on the accident and the analysis of this action is under investigation.”

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization has yet to receive a positive response after requesting help from French and American authorities to provide technical assistance in decoding the black box of the Boeing aircraft 737-800, which crashed after taking off from Tehran’s main airport earlier this month.

If the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time,” the agency said in its report.

Canada has questioned Iran’s level of cooperation; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Iran should give the recorders to France for analysis.

“We have been calling upon Iran to release the black boxes to a reliable third county that has the technological capacity to properly analyze those boxes, [and] we continue to pressure Iran,” Trudeau said in a live statement this afternoon.

Aurel Braun, a political science professor at the University of Toronto said the manufacturer Boeing, is one of the best companies to decode the black boxes.

“Until those boxes are out and western countries have physical possession of the boxes I would remain curious as to what Iran is going to do. It’s a regime that changes what it states quickly and one that has tried to hide evidence whenever it could,” he said.

Ukrainian officials have accused Iran of tampering with the crash site and violating protocols before the investigation was complete.

“If we get the French and Americans to analyze the black boxes that would be moving in the right direction, as Canada has asked to get all the information,” Braun said.

New surfacing video from The Associated Press shows how the first missiles were fired near the aircraft, seconds later another missile is fired and the plane descends as it caught on fire.

The footage also matches the geographic features of the area. “If Iran does hand over the boxes, then it’s good news for Canada and the survivors, because we will get more information and we want full transparency, we want to know exactly what happened,” Braun said.

It was days before Iran released the cause of the plane crash, regardless of reports from American intelligence that had already confirmed the missiles shot down the aircraft.

“Iran lied for three days and then admitted that they shot down the aircraft. It’s gross negligence and 100 per cent their responsibility. Iran should have never allowed the aircraft to fly,” Braun said.

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