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TEHRAN must take “full responsibility” for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet and pay compensation to the victims’ families, governments of the countries that lost citizens demanded today.
Foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine issued the statement following a meeting at the Canadian High Commission at Trafalgar Square in London.
“We are here to pursue closure, accountability, transparency and justice” for the victims, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.
All 176 people on board the jet died after it was shot down by Iranian missiles soon after take-off from Khomenei International Airport in Tehran on January 8.
The Iranian government initially denied involvement in the incident, accusing the Western countries of lies to discredit it and sow discontent in the country.
But in a stunning about-turn, Iran admitted that it had in fact shot down the plane, insisting that it was a “disastrous mistake.”
Chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami offered an apology and said: “In all my lifetime I haven’t been as sorry as much as now. Never. I wish I had been on board and burned with them.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to blame the US for the incident in a television interview earlier this week.
“If there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families. This is something that happens when you have conflict and the war. Innocents bear the brunt of it,” he said.
Families of the crash victims reported to have been threatened by the Iranian intelligence services in a bid to silence them.
The mother of one of the victims told the Iran Wire news website: “Instead of sympathy, what we are getting a few times every day are calls and text messages warning us not to communicate with the media or send them pictures.”
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