Medical staff at the site of the crash of a Ukraine passenger jet shot down by the Iranian military outside Tehran, Iran on January 8, 2020
Iran’s Cabinet has allocated $150,000 for the families of each of the 176 victims of a Ukrainian passenger jet shot down by the Iranian military on January 8.
Two missiles brought down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 soon after it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini international Airport, killing all passengers and crew. More than 100 of the victims were Iranian citizens.
The downing came five days after the US assassinated Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Forces, and hours after Iran struck two Iraqi bases with missiles, injuring 50 US troops.
The Iranian military initially tried to cover up the shootdown by claiming “engine failure”. President Hassan Rouhani was not informed for 48 hours about the actual circumstances, in which an anti-aircraft battery near Tehran fired the missiles after it could not contact Iranian commanders.
The military and Rouhani finally acknowledged a “disastrous mistake” on January 11, but the initial cover-up sparked days of protest in Tehran and other Iranian cities.
It is unclear if the Supreme Leader was involved in the cover-up.
Ukraine: Iran Response “Unacceptable”
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Iran’s handling of the situation is “unacceptable” and called for negotiations over the amount of compensation, with those responsible for the downing brought to justice.
“The Ukrainian side expects from Iran a draft technical report on the circumstances of the aircraft shooting down,” spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said.
He noted that Iran has not fulfilled agreements for an adequate investigation and provision of information: “This situation is especially unacceptable, since we are talking about the fate of innocent people.
In August, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that a final report on the shootdown should respect all international standards.
Zarif replied that Iran was ready to pay compensation, with the settlement as a step to alleviate grief.
However, Kuleba noted that it would be “possible to start calculating the amount of compensation” only “after establishing all the facts about the tragedy”.
Canada, home to many of the victims, echoed the Ukrainian position.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement that “negotiations on reparations” are the best avenue available “to hold Iran accountable for its action”.
Iran’s Transport Minister Mohammad Eslami maintained that a final report on the crash had been sent to countries participating in the investigation.
A spokesman for the US National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that it received a draft report from Tehran. However, Kathy Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said her agency will not have access to the report until it is completed.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said an indictment will be issued in less than a month against “those whose negligence caused the accident”.