RFL/RE – Ukraine has reiterated its determination to bring Iran to justice for the downing of a Ukrainian airliner shortly after takeoff in Tehran during talks on compensation over the January air disaster that killed 176 people.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told journalists in Kyiv on July 31 that talks with an Iranian delegation were “constructive” and that Tehran’s readiness for the negotiations to establish the circumstances of the tragedy, bring the individuals responsible for it to justice, and pay compensation was an important move.
“Iran has agreed to fulfill all of its obligations under the international aviation conventions to which it is a party. This means that we can build the relevant work constructively,” Kuleba said.
According to Kuleba, the sides agreed upon a framework for the negotiation process, which will be held on several levels, with investigators, technical experts, and lawyers communicating “to determine all the circumstances, including legal and technical nuances.”
“At this point the amount of the compensation remains unclear. The amount cannot be established right away as all involved factors must be considered when establishing it,” the minister said, noting that if it becomes apparent that Iran is delaying the negotiation process, Kyiv will be ready for an “alternative scenario to ensure the payment of compensation by other possible means.”
He did not elaborate.
Iran has admitted that its forces downed the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) passenger jet on January 8, saying they mistook it for a missile amid heightened tensions with the United States. All 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians, were killed.
The aircraft was shot down hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces in retaliation for the U.S. drone killing of a senior Iranian commander.
Data extraction from the jet’s black boxes is being carried out in Paris. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said on July 23 that the download and preliminary analysis of the cockpit voice and flight data was finished, though the investigation continues.
Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau is leading the probe, which is being observed by Canadian, U.S., Swedish, and British experts, as well as by representatives from UIA, aircraft manufacturer Boeing, and engine maker Safran.