Iran asks US, France for help reading Ukrainian plane’s black box info

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Iran has asked the US and French authorities for equipment to download information from black boxes on a downed Ukrainian airliner, a request that will add to international frustration at Tehran’s failure to send the recorders abroad for analysis.

Canada, 57 of whose citizens were among the 176 people killed in the crash, has said France should handle the flight data and voice recorders as one of the few nations with the ability to analyze the information.

Kiev has repeatedly called for Iran to return the black boxes from the US-built Boeing 737 flown by Ukraine International Airlines that was shot down in error on Jan. 8.

Tehran, already embroiled in a long-running standoff with the United States over its nuclear programme that briefly erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month, has given mixed signals about whether it would hand over the recorders.

A further delay in sending them abroad will add to international pressure on Iran, whose military has said it shot the plane down by mistake in the tense hours after Iran launched missiles at US targets in Iraq.

Iran, which took several days to admit its role in bringing down the plane and faced street protests at home as a result, launched its missiles at US targets in response to a US drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander on Jan. 3.

“If the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said in its second preliminary report on the plane disaster.

Its initial report was released just 24 hours after the incident, before Iran’s military acknowledged its role.

A list of equipment Iran needs has been sent to French accident agency BEA and the US National Transportation Safety Board, the Iranian aviation body said.

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