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Iran and Ukraine launch new round of talks over downed plane

In Tehran, Kyiv’s representatives welcome ‘Iran’s decision to take full responsibility, readiness to ensure compensation’

Yevhenii Yenin (C), Ukraine's deputy minister for foreign affairs, meets with members of the Iranian delegation in the second round of talks on compensation for the families of victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash, in Iran's capital Tehran on October 19, 2020 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Yevhenii Yenin (C), Ukraine's deputy minister for foreign affairs, meets with members of the Iranian delegation in the second round of talks on compensation for the families of victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash, in Iran's capital Tehran on October 19, 2020 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iran hosted officials from Ukraine in a second round of talks on Monday over compensation for a Kyiv-bound passenger plane mistakenly shot down in January, state media reported.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed shortly after taking off from the Iranian capital’s main airport on January 8.

The Islamic Republic admitted days later that its forces accidentally shot down the plane, killing all 176 people on board, after firing two missiles amid heightened US-Iran tensions.

State news agency IRNA said Monday’s talks were held at the foreign ministry in Tehran and that they would continue until Wednesday.

Debris is seen from a Ukrainian plane which crashed as authorities work at the scene in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The first round of negotiations were held in Kyiv in July, with the Ukrainian authorities saying they were “cautiously optimistic” about the process.

Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Yevgeniy Yenin, who headed the delegation, met with Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday, after meeting with his deputy Mohsen Baharvand earlier in the day.

Yevhenii Yenin, Ukraine’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, meets with members of the Iranian delegation in the second round of talks on compensation for the families of victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash, in Iran’s capital Tehran on October 19, 2020 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Zarif called the first round of talks held in Kyiv “positive and constructive” and hoped that those in Tehran achieve their desired results, according to a statement by his ministry.

Yenin welcomed “Iran’s decision to take full responsibility for bringing down the Ukrainian plane and its readiness to ensure the same compensation for all the relatives of the victims, regardless of their citizenship,” said a separate statement by Ukraine’s foreign ministry.

Yenin also emphasized the “need for an unbiased and objective investigation of the circumstances of the air disaster” and called on the Iranian side to “ensure access” to all of its elements, the statement added.

Canada, which lost 55 nationals and 30 permanent residents in the crash, on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to “work tirelessly so that the families of the victims can get the answers they deserve.”

Mohsen Baharvand, Iran’s deputy minister for international and legal affairs, meets with members of the Ukrainian delegation in the second round of talks on compensation for the families of victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash, in Iran’s capital Tehran on October 19, 2020 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne “is actively working with his international partners to ensure a thorough and credible investigation,” his spokeswoman Syrine Khoury said on Monday.

Canada announced at the beginning of October it would form its own forensic team led by a former deputy spy chief to examine the evidence in the tragedy and advise the government accordingly.

Iran’s civil aviation authority has said the misalignment of an air defense unit’s radar system was the key “human error” that led to the plane’s downing.

Tehran’s air defenses had been on high alert at the time in case the US retaliated against Iranian strikes hours earlier on American troops stationed in Iraq.

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