Saturday, February 27, 2021

Iran to pay families of passengers on Ukranian airliner it shot down

Iran at first denied responsibility before finally admitting Revolutionary Guards had made a 'disastrous mistake'.

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Iran is to give US$150,000 (RM600,000) to the families of each of the 176 people who were killed when Iranian Revolutionary Guards shot down a passenger jet in January.

The victims included 63 Canadians, as well as Afghans, Britons and Germans.

In a statement, Iran’s government said it would pay the compensation “as soon as possible”.

The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 was struck by two missiles shortly after taking off from Iran’s capital, Tehran.

After initially denying responsibility, and claiming the plane had suffered a technical problem shortly after take-off, Iran admitted it had shot down the aircraft “unintentionally”, calling it a “disastrous mistake” by the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Iran’s air defences were on high alert at the time. Hours earlier, they had fired ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike in Baghdad.

On Wednesday, Tehran also said it had sent its final report on the crash to the investigating countries: Ukraine, the US, France, Canada, Sweden, the UK and Germany.

Earlier this month an independent Canadian report questioned Iran’s investigation into the incident, saying, “The party responsible for the situation is investigating itself, largely in secret. That does not inspire confidence or trust.”

It said many crucial details had not been disclosed, including the names of those determined to be responsible for carrying out the attack, and the reasons why Iranian airspace had not been closed that night.

Iran also delayed releasing the plane’s “black box” voice recorder for six months, before finally sending it to France for examination in July.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry has complained, saying that compensation amounts should be arrived at through negotiations according to international practice, and demanded those behind the attack face prosecution.

“The Ukrainian side expects from Iran a technical report on the circumstances of the aircraft shooting down,” ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said. “This situation is especially unacceptable since we are talking about the fate of innocent people.”

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