Families of victims of the Ukrainian civilian airliner downed by Iranian missiles in January will meet with Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne to urge Canada to press Iran to hand over the plane’s black boxes, according to a relative of one of the victims.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 on January 8, killing all 176 onboard.
After days of denying responsibility and insisting the plane crashed due to a “technical failure,” Iran acknowledged shooting the plane down claiming it had done so by mistake.
“Next week, we have a meeting with Foreign Minister Champagne,” Mehrzad Zarei, whose 17-year-old son Arad was killed in the crash, told Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Canada on Saturday.
Iran has failed to be sufficiently transparent about the downing of the plane, according to Zarei.
“The Iranian government is not truthful and cannot be trusted,” he said.
Families of the victims will call on the Canadian government to press Iran to hand over the plane’s black boxes to a third party capable of decoding them, Zarei said.
Iran is yet to hand over the plane’s black boxes which has frustrated the families of the victims who accuse Tehran of deliberately delaying the process.
“It has been over three months since the regime said it is going to send the black boxes … we need to know the truth, we need to get justice for our loved ones, we want to know why they used them as human shields,” said Zarei.
The families will also urge the Canadian government to take Iran to the International Court of Justice in their meeting with Champagne, he said.
Relatives of some of the plane crash victims recently announced the launch of the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims and its website at a virtual press conference.
The victims’ relatives revealed at the press conference that their loved ones’ belongings were “looted” at the crash site.
The association is a way for the victims’ families to “speak out,” Ardeshir Zarezadeh, the president of the Toronto-based International Center of Human Rights, told Al Arabiya’s correspondent.
“The families do not want to stay silent. They want to get answers, they want to know the truth. They are after justice, and it is very important for the families to know what happened,” Zarezadeh said.
Iran could be prolonging handing over the plane’s black boxes because it has damaged them, he suggested.
“It is looking like they damaged the black boxes. So there is nothing to give to Canada and Ukraine and Iran just wants to delay,” Zarezadeh said.