Leaked plane recording shows Iran knew missile shot down Flight 752

Published On February 3, 2020 | By Zee Zaman | News, Politics
Debris of 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. Photo by Reuters.
Zainab Zaman

A recording leaked by the Ukrainian government indicates that Iran was immediately aware that a missile struck down Flight 752 on Jan. 2 despite denying the cause of the accident for days.

The recording came to light in a report by Ukrainian TV on Sunday night. 

The recording, captured by an air-traffic control tower, features the voice of the pilot flying for Aseman, an Iranian airline, asking a controller if the area around the airport in Tehran is safe to fly.

“There’s lights like a missile,” the pilot said to the controller. “Is there anything?”.

When the controller says there’s nothing to report, the pilot presses on.

“A series of lights like … yes, it is a missile, is there something?” the pilot calls out to the controller.

“No, how many miles? Where?” the controller asks.

The five-minute conversation appears to show that the pilot was aware of what was happening near Payam airport where the missile originated and may have witnessed the impact .

Hassan Rezaeifar, head of the Iranian investigation team admitted that the recording is legitimate and said that it was handed over to Ukrainian officials.

“This action by the Ukrainians makes us not want to give them any more evidence,” said Rezaifar, the head of the Iranian investigators, according to a report by the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

Despite that, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said that Iran agreed to seek help and involve Ukranian officials in decoding the black box. Something Iranian officials had assured last month but later backtracked on.

“Iran already understands that we have more evidence than initially and this record is one of such important steps. Iran has already offered us to involve our specialists in the decryption of the black boxes. They invite us on Monday [Feb. 3] to come to Iran,” Zelensky said. 

Aurel Braun, a political science professor at the University of Toronto said that if Iran does not have the technical support to decode the black boxes then they should hand them over outright to other countries.

“Iran’s coverup is a bad sign and if they don’t cooperate with Ukraine it would just raise suspicions on the reasons of action by the Iranian Regime,” Braun said. 

Shayesteh Majdnia, a past president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton, said she needs justice for her close friend Shekoufeh Choupannejad, a gynecologist who died along with her two daughters Saba Saadat and Sara Saadat.

“I need Iran to come out and say the truth, Iran will not put any effort to give us closure,” Majdnia said.

“The people on the plane went through so much struggle and difficulty to get to other countries and peruse their dreams,” she added, “The people on the plane and families of the victims deserve and require closure from the Iranian regime,” she said.

“In any crash investigation, first you have the terrible tragedy of losing a loved one, however, matters are made worse if there is no closure, at least people need to know a full story,” Braun said.

“It’s not just an international matter that puts the Iranian regime in a bad light and creates friction with other governments, but it is also sad for the family members and victims of the crash who are not getting a definitive answer on what happened,” Braun said. 

Regardless of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. officials saying that they believe the plane had been shot down, Iranian civil aviation authorities were contradicting it for days. 

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