A police officer stands guard as debris is seen from an Ukrainian plane which crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, January 8, 2020. Two federal cabinet ministers say they expect more answers from Iranian officials about an air strike that downed a passenger plane earlier this year, killing everyone on board. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ebrahim Noroozi

Garneau, Champagne pan Iranian report on downing of PS752 as limited, selective

The report does not provide any information about the moments leading up to the missile attack

The Canadian government has dismissed a new Iranian report on the deadly shootdown of a civilian jetliner in January, saying it provides only “limited and selected information” — and that Tehran still has many questions to answer.

The new report on Ukraine International Airline Flight PS752 released over the weekend provides several new details about what happened on Jan. 8, when two Iranian military missiles slammed into the plane shortly after takeoff from Tehran.

In particular, it says 19 seconds of data collected the plane’s flight-data recorders, also known as black boxes, showed the three-member flight crew “immediately began taking actions required to control the aircraft” after the first missile hit and before the second struck 25 seconds later.

Yet the report does not provide any information about the moments leading up to the missile attack, which Iran has said was an accident. The crash killed all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

It also doesn’t explain why the missile was launched in the first place or why Iran’s airspace was open, given it had launched a ballistic missile attack against U.S. forces in neighbouring Iraq only hours earlier.

The ballistic missile attack was in response to an American drone strike that killed prominent Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad the previous week.

Those are the key questions that Canada and the international community want answered above all else, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement Monday.

“We expect the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide an answer on important questions of why the missiles were launched in the first place and why the air space was open,” the statement said.

“These are the questions that Canada, Canadians and most importantly, the families of the innocent victims need answered.”

The two ministers also noted the brief report only mentions what happened after the first missile struck the aircraft, but made no reference to the second missile.

READ MORE: Compensation talks for victims of downed jetliner to start in October

The Transportation Safety Board, which had investigators in France for the downloading of the flight data last month, released a similar statement on Sunday confirming receipt of the report while raising the same questions as the ministers.

A representative for Canadian families and loved ones killed in the crash expressed frustration on Monday that Ottawa has not taken a harder stance with Iran, which he accused of stonewalling efforts to find out the truth about Flight PS752.

Hamed Esmaeilion, a Toronto-area dentist who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, said the federal government is “cautiously and delicately maintaining the correct position,” but that it should find ways to step up pressure on Tehran.

That includes calling out what Esmaeilion argued were clear breaches of Iran’s international obligations around investigating the crash and getting the RCMP more involved in efforts to hold those responsible to account.

International rules say Iran is to lead the investigation into the crash. But in their statement, Garneau and Champagne called on that country ”to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation,” adding they expect Iran to live up to its international commitments.

Iran initially denied responsibility for the crash before admitting — in the face of mounting evidence and international pressure — the Boeing 737-800 went down after being hit by two Iranian missiles.

Canada, along with the other countries that lost citizens on Flight PS752 — Britain, Sweden, Afghanistan and Ukraine — signed an agreement July 2 promising to work together to force Iran to pay compensation to the victims’ families.

An Iranian report last month blamed a number of errors for what it suggested was an avoidable tragedy, starting with the surface-to-air missile battery that targeted the aircraft having been relocated and not properly reoriented.

Those manning the missile battery also could not communicate with their command centre, the report said. They also misidentified the civilian flight as a threat and opened fire twice without getting approval from ranking officials.

The report did not say why the Iranian military moved the air-defence system, but noted the Ukrainian flight had done nothing out of the ordinary up until the missile launch, with its transponder and other data being broadcast.

Jordan Press and Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Flight 752 crash in Iran

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read