Canadians Continue to Mark 1-year Anniversary of Downed Ukraine Plane by Iran

January 8, 2021 Updated: January 8, 2021

Commemorations continue today for the victims of a passenger jet shot down by the Iranian military one year ago today.

They began Thursday with a livestream at 9:42 p.m. ET, the exact moment Flight PS752 took off from the airport near the capital of Tehran.

Voices of loved ones speaking Farsi—some wishing to talk to those who died, others wanting to know their last thoughts—played over videos and photos of faces young and old.

A few hours later, biographies of the 176 victims, many of them with ties to Canada, were read throughout the night.

The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims group organized the services.

Later today, outdoor rallies are to take place in various cities, including Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton.

On Jan. 8, 2020, the plane bound for Kyiv was shot out of the sky shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport. More than 100 of the victims had ties to Canada, and at least 55 were Canadian citizens.

At the time, tension between Iran and the United States had been brewing. A few days earlier, a U.S. strike on the Baghdad airport had been ordered by President Donald Trump that resulted in the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Iran’s military had fired missiles at American forces in Iraq in retaliation.

Iran initially denied any involvement in the downing of the airliner, then admitted it was shot down by accident after mistaking it for a missile.

The Iranian government recently pledged to pay $150,000 to each of the victims’ families. But family members in Canada say they don’t care about compensation and want answers.

Daniel Ghods-Esfahani, a medical student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, said the last year has been difficult.

His girlfriend, Saba Saadat, her sister Sara, and their mother, Dr. Shekoufeh Choupannejad, were on the flight.

He only recently started processing that a pandemic was happening in the world, he said.

“We wake up. We have a routine. We do certain things throughout our day now. But the feeling, like physically and mentally, is very similar to the first few days after we found out about the downing of the flight.”