Iran aims to examine downed jet’s black boxes, no plan yet to send them abroad
January 19 2020 11:56 PM
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This handout picture released by the Ukrainian presidential press service shows the motorcade carrying the coffins of the 11 Ukrainians who died when a plane was mistakenly shot down by Iran, near Kyiv yesterday.

Reuters/ Tehran

Iran said yesterday it was trying to analyse the black boxes of a Ukrainian airliner that its military shot down this month, denying a report that a decision had been taken to send the voice and flight data recorders to Ukraine.
Canada, which had 57 citizens on the January 8 flight in which all 176 aboard were killed, said yesterday there were still no firm plans for downloading the recorders.
Ottawa and other capitals have called for the black boxes to be sent abroad.
The plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long-running dispute with the United States over its nuclear programme.
The military has said it downed Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in error in the aftermath of tit-for-tat strikes by the United States and Iran.
“We are trying to read the black boxes here in Iran. Otherwise, our options are Ukraine and France, but no decision has been taken so far to send them to another country,” Hassan Rezaifar, a director in charge of accident investigations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation, told state news agency Irna.
Rezaifar had been quoted by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday as saying the black boxes could not be decoded in Iran and would be sent to Ukraine after Kiev’s repeated requests.
Irna also reported yesterday that the official had made similar comments a day earlier.
It was not immediately clear what prompted Rezaifar to backtrack.
The Boeing 737-800 was en route from Tehran to the Ukrainian capital.
Most of those on board were Iranians or dual nationals.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said in a statement two of its investigators left Tehran yesterday after a six-day visit during which they examined the wreckage.
It said Iranian investigators were “co-operative and helpful” but said there were still no firm plans on how and when the black boxes would be downloaded.
Ukraine has previously said it expected the recorders to be handed over, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said France was one of the few countries with the ability to read information on the recorders.
France’s air accident agency BEA said on Saturday it was awaiting an official request for assistance.
The bodies of 11 Ukrainian victims were brought home yesterday in a ceremony at Kyiv airport.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that “bereaved families and the whole nation have an opportunity to pay their respects”.
The plane was brought down when the military was on high alert in the tense hours after Iran launched missiles at US targets in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian commander in a US drone strike on January 3 in Baghdad.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called the downing an “unforgivable error” and promised to hold those responsible to account.
The Revolutionary Guards also issued profuse apologies.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that “some tried to use it as an excuse to overshadow the martyrdom of our great commander” Qassem Soleimani, the powerful general killed in the US strike.
The death of Soleimani led to huge mourning ceremonies in Iran. Page 9



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