Iran Won’t Hand Over ‘Damaged’ Black Box of Ukraine Plane: Ministers

February 19, 2020 Updated: February 19, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

The black box of a Ukrainian passenger plane accidentally shot down over Iran last month is damaged but Iran will not hand it over to another country despite pressure for access, top Iranian ministers said on Feb. 19, according to state media.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week he had “impressed upon” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that a complete and independent investigation into the shooting down of the airliner had to be carried out.

Many of the 176 who perished in the disaster were Iranians with dual citizenship, which is not recognized by Iran. Canada had 57 citizens on board.

Epoch Times Photo
Members of Montreal’s Iranian community attend a vigil to mourn victims of the Iranian air crash in downtown Montreal, Canada , on Jan. 9, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Andrej Ivanov)

“We have a right to read the black box ourselves. We have a right to be present at any examination of the black box,” Zarif said.

“If we are supposed to give the black box to others for them to read it in our place then this is something we will definitely not do,” he said.

Defense Minister Amir Hatami said the flight data recording box had “sustained noticeable damage and the defense industry has been requested to help in reconstructing (it).”

Epoch Times Photo
This undated photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, shows the wreckage of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 at the scene of the crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“The reconstruction of the black box is supposed to take place first and then the reading,” Hatami said.

All 176 passengers aboard the plane were killed when the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military force, fired missiles at the plane after mistaking it for a hostile target.

Iran is in discussions with other countries, particularly Ukraine, about the investigation, foreign minister Zarif said.

 By Babak Dehghanpisheh