Tehran said it wanted to download black box recordings itself from a Ukrainian airliner that crashed, killing all 176 people aboard, after Canada and others said the plane was brought down by an Iranian missile, probably by mistake, Reuters informs.
Iran, which has denied the Boeing 737-800 was downed by a missile, said it could take one or two months to extract information from the voice and flight data recorders. It said it could ask Russia, Canada, France or Ukraine if it needed help. Tehran also said the probe might take one or two years.
Ukraine said it could not rule out a missile strike but had not confirmed this. The Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev from Tehran crashed on Wednesday, when Iran was on alert for a U.S. military response hours after firing missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq, Reuters adds.
The incident adds to international pressure on Iran, after months of tension with the United States and then tit-for-tat military strikes. Washington killed an Iranian general last week in a drone attack in Iraq, prompting Tehran’s missile launches.
On social media, many Iranians voiced anger at the authorities for not closing the airport after Iran’s missile launches. Many passengers were Iranians with dual nationality.
“We prefer to download the black boxes in Iran. But if we see that we can’t do that because the boxes are damaged, then we will seek help,” Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation, told a news conference in Tehran.
State television earlier showed the battered black boxes, saying their information could be downloaded and analyzed.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, citing intelligence from Canada and other sources, has blamed an Iranian missile for bringing down the plane that had 63 Canadians on board, although he said it “may well have been unintentional”.
“The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” he said.
Ukraine’s general prosecutor asked Canada “to provide information available to the Canadian side that may facilitate criminal investigations” into the crash.