A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 went down just minutes after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, leaving no survivors, minutes after take-off on January 8. There were 176 passengers, from different nationalities who died in the crash which included 63 Canadians. Initially, Iran said that the plane crashed due to a technical glitch.
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that both Canadian and foreign intelligence suggests that the plane might have been unintentionally downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. The incident happened around the same time that Iran launched a missile attack in Iraq, against America.
Iran's initial statement
The crash which happened a few hours after Iran launched missile attacks in Iraq, against American interests, as a retaliation to the American drone strike that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
In a report released by Iran, on Thursday, it said that the airliner was on fire, tried returning back to the airport, but didn't make a radio call for help. The initial Iranian statement portrays the incident as an accident. Iranians have refused to give black boxes to the American manufacturer and the Americans but has called the Ukrainians to investigate.
Canadian Prime Minister suggests unintentional downing by Iranians
The Canadian Prime Minister said that investigation suggests that the plane was downed by an Iranian missile and the strike "may have been unintentional". Though he did not give the details of the investigation. "We have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile," Trudeau told a news conference. "This may well have been unintentional," he added, Associated Press reported.
Asked by reporters if he thought the US strike that killed the general is to blame, Trudeau said, "I think it is too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever proportions".
Canada doesn't have a diplomatic relation with Iran
In a Wednesday night phone call, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne pushed his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif "to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash". Canada doesn't have a diplomatic relation with Iran. In 2012, it closed its embassy in Tehran, expelled all Iranian diplomats from Ottawa and severed all diplomatic relations.
On Thursday, US President said that he didn't believe that mechanical failure was responsible for the plane's crash. "It was flying in a pretty rough neighbourhood. Somebody could have made a mistake", he said.