Ukraine FM demands Iran explain why MP said army did ‘well’ to shoot civilian plane

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Iran must offer an “immediate explanation” why one of its members of parliament said that the Iranian military did “well” to shoot down a civilian airplane in January, killing all 176 on board, said Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Vadym Prystaiko.

On January 8, Iran shot down a Ukraine International Airlines civilian airliner which had been given the all clear to leave Tehran airport. Having initially denied shooting down the airliner, the Iranian government admitted several days later that it had accidentally downed the plane on the same day it launched a missile attack against bases hosting US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the US killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Read more: Doubts linger over Iran’s explanation of plane missile attack: Expert

While some Iranian officials have apologized for the incident, last week Iranian MP Hassan Norouzi appeared to praise the response of the military, saying “The military forces carried out their duties well” and describing the plane’s movement as “very suspicious.”

Norouzi also said that no arrests should be made in connection to the incident, and that “the plane was in Israel the week before and was tampered with.”

Read more: Iran military did well in downing Ukrainian plane, says Iranian MP

His comments have sparked outrage, including from Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Prystaiko, who called on Iran to explain his comments.

“We expect an immediate explanation from #Iran on this deplorable statement. It shows full disrespect for human lives.Dozens of families from Iran,Ukraine,Canada,Sweden,UK&Afghanistan lost their loved ones in the attack against defensless civilian aircraft,” tweeted Prystaiko on the day Al Arabiya English published Norouzi’s comments.

Of the 176 people killed when the aircraft was shot down, there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians and a number of other nationalities. As of Sunday, Iran had not made the black box from the incident available for international observation.

Read more:

Iran says it ‘unintentionally’ shot down Ukrainian plane due to human error

Families of victims of Ukraine plane shot down by Iran grappling with challenges

Canada asks Iran to send airliner’s black boxes to Ukraine or France