Canada 'not qualified' to comment on downed Boeing: Iran

By: AFP      Published: 07:23 PM, 25 Jun, 2021
Canada 'not qualified' to comment on downed Boeing: Iran

Iran said Friday that Canada was "not qualified" to apportion blame on Tehran for the downing of a Ukrainian Boeing passenger plane last year that killed 176 people.

"Canada is not qualified to present reports or to voice opinion on the issue of the crash of a Ukrainian airliner," said Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharvand, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

"The part of the Canadian report which criticises Iran's report on the issue in the technical aspect is baseless and unacceptable," the official said.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight PS752 flying from Tehran to Kiev crashed on January 8, 2020, shortly after take-off with 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents among the 176 people on board.

Three days later, the Iranian armed forces admitted having shot down the aircraft "by mistake".

The official report by Canadian experts released Thursday highlighted the Iranian authorities' "recklessness, incompetence and wanton disregard for human life", Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said.

The report acknowledged, however, that forensic investigators had "found no evidence that the downing of Flight PS752 was premeditated".

But Iran still "does not get off the hook in any way whatsoever", Garneau told a press briefing.

It had provided "only a misleading and superficial account of events", he charged. 

He said Tehran was "totally responsible... due to a combination of incompetence, lack of accountability, a total failure of their command and control system, a total failure to properly assess the risk, a total failure to close the airspace and not even bothering to inform the aircraft taking off, that they were in a risk environment".

Air defences were on high alert as Tehran had just attacked US military posts in Iraq in response to an American drone strike five days earlier in Baghdad that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

In its final report released in March, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation exonerated the Islamic Republic's armed forces of blame for the tragedy. 

Ukraine slammed those findings as a "cynical attempt to hide the real causes" and Ottawa denounced the "incomplete" report without "hard evidence".