Al-Arabia – The families of the victims of the Ukrainian airliner shot down by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in January have launched a petition urging European and international airlines to not fly over Iranian airspace until Tehran allows for a credible investigation into the attack and punishes the perpetrators.
The IRGC shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 on January 8, killing all 176 passengers onboard. Iran admitted to downing the plane after days of denying responsibility and insisting the plane crashed due to a “technical failure.”
State media reported on Friday that Iran has held several meetings with European airlines in order to “build trust” and resume European flights to the country. This prompted “the association of families of flight PS752 victims” to launch a petition on Sunday calling on European airlines to avoid Iran’s airspace until the Islamic Republic “demonstrates its commitment to cooperate with international bodies to conduct a credible investigation” into the attack on the plane.
Security officers and Red Crescent workers are seen at the site where the Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
Iran is yet to hand over the black boxes from the downed plane for analysis.
Revealing the identities of and prosecuting the perpetrators and those who ordered the attack are the “main parts” of any investigation, the petition says.
“What guarantees are there that the [IRGC] will not repeat a similar crime, when investigations are being blocked and the perpetrators are being praised in Iran? What guarantees are there for the safety of passengers?” the petition asks.
It has so far been signed by over 30,000 people.
The spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s legal and judicial committee Hassan Norouzi said last month that the IRGC did “well” by downing the Ukrainian plane. Contrary to official claims, no arrests have been made in relation to the incident, he said.
Hamed Esmaeilion, the spokesman of the association of families of flight PS752 victims, has been under attack from regime accounts on Twitter since the launch of the petition.
He has been accused of being an agent of Iran’s “enemies” as well as “promoting sanctions” against the country.
Esmaeilion, whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash, has been highly vocal in criticising the Iranian regime since the incident.
Other Iranians on Twitter have expressed support for Esmaeilion, saying those attacking him have been looking for an excuse to do so due to his criticisms of the regime.