Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

Iran ready to hand over black boxes from downed Ukrainian airliner

Jetliner brought down by Iranian air defences in January, killing 176

One of the flight recorders reportedly recovered from the crashed Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. Reuters
One of the flight recorders reportedly recovered from the crashed Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. Reuters

Iran is ready to transfer abroad the black boxes of a Ukrainian plane shot down by mistake near Tehran airport, but they will be of "no help" in any investigation, state media reported on Saturday.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, was struck by a missile and crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on January 8.

"Even though the investigation is nearly complete and the contents of the boxes will be of no help for the investigation, we are ready to give them to a third country or to a (foreign) company", Mohsen Baharvand, deputy foreign affairs minister, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

In this file photo taken on January 8, 2020 rescue teams are seen at the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed shortly after take-off near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran. AFP
In this file photo taken on January 8, 2020 rescue teams are seen at the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed shortly after take-off near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran. AFP

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Iranian civilian authorities insisted it was likely caused by a technical malfunction, vehemently denying claims the plane was shot down.

But in the early hours of January 11, the Iranian military admitted that the plane was shot down due to "human error," killing 176 people, mainly Iranians and Canadians, including many dual nationals.

Ottawa has demanded for several months that Iran, which does not have the technical means to decode the black boxes, send the flight recorders abroad so that their content can be analysed.

After Tehran said in March it was ready to transfer the black boxes to France or Ukraine, Canada's foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne guardedly welcomed a "step in the right direction", while noting that he would judge Iranian authorities on "their actions and not just their words".

In his interview with IRNA, Mr Baharvand implied that Iran had certain conditions for transferring the black boxes abroad, but did not elaborate.

Updated: June 7, 2020 07:22 AM

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