Ottawa demands answers on Iran plane crash as compensation sought
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World 'will not rest' until we get answers

Ottawa demands answers on Iran plane crash as compensation sought

Foreign ministers of Canada, the UK, Afghanistan, Sweden and Ukraine demand Tehran take ‘full responsibility’ for shooting down passenger plane, killing 176

Britain's Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, (L), Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne (C) and Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko observe a minute silence to commemorate to commemorate the victims of the Ukrainian plane shot down in Iran before a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group, at the High Commission of Canada in London, on January 16, 2020. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)
Britain's Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, (L), Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne (C) and Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vadym Prystaiko observe a minute silence to commemorate to commemorate the victims of the Ukrainian plane shot down in Iran before a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group, at the High Commission of Canada in London, on January 16, 2020. (Tolga Akmen / AFP)

LONDON — The governments of countries that lost citizens when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner demanded Thursday that Tehran accept “full responsibility” and pay compensation to the victims’ families.

The foreign ministers of Canada, the UK, Afghanistan, Sweden and Ukraine issued the statement on after a meeting at the Canadian High Commission on Trafalgar Square.

All 176 people aboard the Ukraine International Airlines died when it was brought down by ballistic missiles shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 8.

The victims included 57 Canadian citizens as well as 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans and four British citizens, as well as Iranians.

“We are here to pursue closure, accountability, transparency and justice” for the victims, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in London.

“Families want answers, the international community wants answers, the world is waiting for answers and we will not rest until we get them,” he added.

A mourner lights a candle at a memorial service for the victims of Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 crash in Iran at Storkyrkan church in Stockholm on January 15, 2020. (Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

He said Iran had accepted responsibility, but only a full investigation would reveal the “exact cause” and who was responsible.

Iran initially blamed a technical fault before acknowledging in the face of mounting evidence that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had accidentally brought down the jetliner.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for a “comprehensive, transparent and independent international investigation” of the crash.

Canada — which doesn’t have an embassy in Iran — has demanded official status in the investigation. Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Wednesday that two Canadian investigators were in Iran as part of an international team and had good co-operation, but Garneau wants their participation in the probe formalized.

Garneau said the plane’s voice and flight data recorders are in Iranian hands, but another two Canadian investigators are ready to go wherever and whenever they are examined.

Flowers and candles are placed in front of portraits of the flight crew members of the Ukrainian 737-800 plane that crashed on the outskirts of Tehran, at a memorial inside Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The downing of the plane came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States over the killing of Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike. Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for his death.

American allies have avoided blaming the Trump administration, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the crash victims would be alive today if tensions had not escalated in the region.

“If there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families. This is something that happens when you have conflict and the war. Innocents bear the brunt of it,” Trudeau told Global News Television this week.

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