After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in February that Kiev was not satisfied with the size of compensation Iran had offered after the Islamic Republic downed a Ukrainian airliner, Tehran will send the black boxes from the downed plane to France for analysis.
Iran shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight on January 8 with a ground-to-air missile, killing 176 people, in what Tehran later acknowledged as a “disastrous mistake” by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the United States.
A government spokesperson for Iran last week said that the coronavirus pandemic had slowed plans to send the black boxes.
Spokesperson Ali Rabiei said that they would resume the process of sending the black boxes as international fligths resumed amid the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. In March, Tehran said it was ready to transfer the black boxes to France or Ukraine, AFP reported.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will send the black box of the Ukrainian airplane to France in the coming few days in order to read its information,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
France’s BEA air accident investigation agency is known as one of the world’s leading agencies for reading flight recorders.
Zarif made the comments in a phone call with Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. Canada had 57 citizens on board.
Champagne said in a statement that Zarif had committed to sending the flight recorders to France without further delay.
He also said Iran had “agreed to enter into negotiations for reparations” but gave no details. Champagne has consistently pressed Iran to compensate the families of victims.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in February that Kiev was not satisfied with the size of compensation Iran had offered. Iran had offered $80,000 for each family, which Zelenskiy said was “too small.”
Iran says coronavirus delays reading of Ukraine airline black boxes
The fate of the cockpit voice and data “black box” recorders was the subject of an international standoff after the plane was shot down, with Ukraine demanding access.
Iran says the coronavirus crisis has contributed to delays in a probe by its Air Accident Investigation Board.
Tehran has been sending mixed messages about where the black boxes may be read. Last week, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said they would be sent to Ukraine.