Canada, Iran at odds over who should analyse downed plane’s black boxes

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Dubai – Iran said it had asked the U.S. and French authorities for equipment to download information from black boxes on a downed Ukrainian airliner, potentially angering countries which want the recorders analysed abroad.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, which lost 57 of the 176 people killed in the crash, on Tuesday, said Iran, did not have the ability to read the data.

He demanded the cockpit and flight recorders should be sent to France. Kiev wants the recorders sent to Ukraine.

The U.S. built Boeing 737 flown by Ukraine International Airlines was shot down in error by Iranian forces on Jan. 8 during a period of tit-for-tat military strikes that included the killing by the U.S. of a senior Iranian general on Jan. 3.

Tehran, already embroiled in a long-running standoff with the U.S. over its nuclear programme, has given mixed signals about whether it would hand over the recorders.

An Iranian aviation official had said on Saturday the black boxes would be sent to Ukraine, only to backtrack in comments reported a day later, saying they would be analyzed at home.

A further delay in sending them abroad is likely to increase international pressure on Iran, whose military has said it shot the plane down by mistake while on high alert in the tense hours after Iran fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation said in its second preliminary report on the disaster released on Monday “if the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time.’’

The Iranian aviation body said a list of equipment Iran needs has been sent to French accident agency BEA and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

“Until now, these countries have not given a positive response to sending the equipment to (Iran),’’ it said.

It added that two surface-to-air TOR-M1 missiles had been launched minutes after the Ukrainian plane took off from Tehran.

(Reuters/NAN)


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