VIDEO: Trudeau says Iran must take full responsibility for jetliner’s downing

‘This is a tragedy that should not have happened,’ the prime minister said

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Iran must take full responsibility for mistakenly shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 civilians on board, including 57 Canadians.

At an afternoon news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau said that accountability must include a creditable investigation and compensation for the families of the dead.

“This is a tragedy that should not have happened,” the prime minister said.

“Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific. Iran must take full responsibility,” he said.

“I am, of course, outraged and furious that families across this country are grieving the loss of their loved ones; that the Iranian-Canadian community is suffering so greatly; that all Canadians are shocked and appalled at this senseless loss of life.”

Trudeau’s news conference came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged Saturday that an Iranian missile took down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

Rouhani, who spoke with Trudeau over the phone Saturday, posted on Twitter that an Iranian military investigation concluded “missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash.”

The admission came a day after Iran denied claims being made by Canada, Britain and the United States that the plane was shot down by Iran, possibly accidentally.

In addition to the 57 Canadian citizens on the plane, dozens more were bound for Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.

Rouhani said investigations will continue to “identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake.”

READ MORE: Iran admits it shot down Ukrainian plane by mistake, killing 176 aboard

“My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families,” he said. “I offer my sincerest condolences.”

Nadia Eghbali, whose aunt, uncle and eight-year-old cousin died in the crash, said it was hard to process all of her emotions after hearing the Iranian government admit that they accidentally shot the plane down.

“We’re in complete shock, we’re full of so much emotion. There’s anger, there’s so many things, we just don’t know why this happened,” said Eghbali. “At a time like this, they needed to stop all flights. It should have been stopped to prevent anything like this.”

Nina Saeidpour, whose friend Kasra Saati died in the crash, said Iran’s admission stirred up “mixed emotions.” Saeidpour, from Calgary, said Saati had travelled to Iran over the holidays for a reunion with his wife and two children.

“In some ways we are happy that our government just came forward and said that they did it instead of hiding everything. On the other hand everybody is again in shock about why such a thing should happen,” Saeidpour said.

Officials from Global Affairs Canada and investigators from the Transportation Safety Board were waiting to get access to Iran so they can both be part of the investigation and provide consular services to families of Canadian victims. Trudeau said three visas had been issued so far and the first members of the team were expected to be on the ground in Iran within the day.

The plane’s downing came hours after Iran launched missile attacks at two military bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq. Those attacks were retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in an American airstrike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

A military statement delivered on Iranian state television said the civilian airliner was mistaken for a “hostile target” when it turned toward a sensitive military site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, an elite unit of the country’s military.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif still pointed some blame towards the Americans, saying on Twitter, “human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster.”

Trudeau said accidents like the downing of the plane are what happen when tension is high and he said things need to calm down in the region.

“The reality is there have been significant tensions in that region for a long time and what we are calling for now is a de-escalation to ensure that there are no more tragic accidents,” he said.

Ukraine’s president said Iran must issue an official apology and also called for compensation for the disaster. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine expects a “full and open investigation, bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

The dead also included citizens of Iran, Ukraine, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan and Germany. Champagne said Canada is leading the group of nations to advocate with “one single voice.”

— with files from Salmaan Farooqui in Toronto, Chris Reynolds in Montreal and The Associated Press

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Cariboo Cougars lose to Vancouver Hawks at the 2020 Winter Classic

The Cougars lost 2 - 0 at the Jan. 18 game held at the Ernie Sam Memorial Arena

Photos: Female midget AAA teams start northern tour in Vanderhoof

Vancouver Comets went up against the Northern Capitals in the Vanderhoof arena on Jan. 17

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Premier Horgan announces business plan approval for new hospital in Fort St. James

The new hospital in the district is aimed to be open to patients by 2024

Cariboo Memorial Hospital back to normal after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

Site of planned Jumbo Valley ski resort to be protected, managed by First Nations

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Huawei exec’s extradition hearing begins in Canada

China’s foreign ministry complained the United States and Canada were violating Meng’s rights

Prince Harry: ‘Powerful media’ is why he’s stepping away

Prince Harry and Megan have stepped away from their royal commitments

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

Most Read