Iran ‘likely’ to give Ukrainian airplane black box to France – report

Following the Ukrainian’s side delay in responding to Iran’s offer regarding the Ukrainian plane’s black box, the Iranian authorities have decided to send the black box to another country.

Iran will “likely” send the black box from the Ukrainian airplane shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to France, Al-Arabiya reported, citing Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency.

The plane, designated Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, was shot down by the IRGC on January 8. All 176 passengers on board were killed in the crash.

The Islamic Republic initially denied responsibility for shooting down the plane and had insisted the crash was due to a technical failure. However, it eventually admitted responsibility a few days later, claiming that the plane was mistaken for a missile as the country was in high alert, having fired retaliatory strikes at US targets in response to a US strike that killed an Iranian general.

The incident provoked widespread backlash against the regime, both external and internal, with anti-regime protests flaring up in the country.

However, despite admitting responsibility, Iran has yet to turn over the black boxes to Ukraine for analysis.

According to ISNA, the decision to send the box to another country, such as France was the fault of the Ukrainians, as the Iranians claim to have made an offer to Ukraine regarding the box.

“Following the Ukrainian’s side delay in responding to Iran’s offer regarding the Ukrainian plane’s black box, the Iranian authorities have decided to send the black box to another country, probably France,” the ISNA report claimed.

The report did not elaborate on the Iranian offer, or when Iran plans on handing the black box over.

However, Iran has a history of refusing to cooperate with Ukrainian investigators over the crash.

In February, Ukraine obtained a leaked audio recording from Iran that showed Iran apparently was aware of the incident immediately, and tried to cover it up.

This recording “proves that the Iranian side knew from the start that our plane had been hit by a missile,” Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said at the time.

In response, Iran criticized Ukraine for publishing the leaked audio, and claimed that they would refuse to share evidence with them.

“The technical investigation team of the Ukrainian airline crash, in a strange move, published the secret audio file of the communications of a pilot of a plane that was flying at the same time as the Ukrainian plane,” said Hassan Rezaifar, the Iranian official in charge of accident investigations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

“This action by the Ukrainians led to us not sharing any more evidence with them.”Even earlier, Ukranian investigators were reportedly refused to investigate.

According to Al-Arabiya, a senior member of the Ukrainian investigation team recently said that Iran “repeatedly” blocked the team from investigating the crash at the time.

Reuters contributed to this report.

(c) Jerusalem Post


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