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Canada says Iranian report on downing of passenger plane ‘doesn’t answer why’

OTTAWA, Ontario — The chair of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board says Iran’s final report on the Ukrainian passenger jet it shot down last year fails to shed light on why it happened.

“The report says what happened, but it doesn’t answer the why,” TSB chair Kathy Fox tells a news conference in Ottawa.

“We believe that the final report issued by Iran yesterday is incomplete,” Fox adds. “It raises more questions than it answers.”

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Iran’s capital Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard.

The Islamic Republic admitted three days later that its forces mistakenly shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 plane, after firing two missiles.

In a final report, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO) pointed to the missile strikes and the “alertness” of its troops on the ground amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States at the time.

Fox says this “falls short of answering many of the detailed questions about the underlying factors.”

She also laments a lack of detailed information about the Iranian military’s role in the downing, and specificity of the safety actions it has taken to reduce the risk of a repeat occurrence.

“We don’t accept the premise that you can’t delve into the military side to identify what happened,” Fox says, citing previous shootdowns of a Korean jetliner by Russia and of an Iranian passenger aircraft by the United States in the 1980s that were fully investigated.

“The lack of details means we can’t confirm that these (new safety measures) will actually reduce the risks to civil aviation operations within Iran’s airspace,” she says.

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