Iran Approves Payments for Shooting Down Ukraine Airliner

30 Dec 2020

Iran Approves Payments for Shooting Down Ukraine Airliner

Tehran said it will pay $150,000 to the family of each victim, but Ukraine said it expects more, including a thorough investigation.

By Reuters

December 30, 2020

Iran’s Cabinet on Wednesday allocated $150,000 for the families of each of the 176 people killed when Iranian forces shot down a Ukrainian airliner in January, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Describing Iran’s handling of the situation as “unacceptable,” Ukraine said the amount of compensation should be negotiated, in accord with international practice, and that Iran must determine the causes of the tragedy and bring those responsible to justice.

An Iranian government statement said: “The cabinet approved the provision of $150,000 or the equivalent in euros as soon as possible to the families and survivors of each of the victims of the Ukrainian plan crash,” IRNA reported.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have said they accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Jan. 8, mistaking it for a missile when tensions with the United States were high.

“The Ukrainian side expects from Iran a draft technical report on the circumstances of the aircraft shooting down,” said Oleh Nikolenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry. He added that Iran had yet to implement earlier agreements, but did not give details.

“This situation is especially unacceptable, since we are talking about the fate of innocent people,” he said.

Iran’s Roads and Urban Development Minister, Mohammad Eslami, told state television on Wednesday that the final report on the crash had been sent to the countries participating in the investigation.

Under United Nations rules, Iran retains overall control of the investigation, with input from the United States as the country where the plane, a Boeing 737-800, was built; from Ukraine, where it was operated; and from Canada, where many of the victims lived.

International rules on air crash investigations known as Annex 13 include a recommendation that a final report appear within 12 months, a time frame that expires next week, though many high-profile inquiries take longer.

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said by email that the agency had been informed that a “draft investigation report was going to be distributed” this week, although it would not have access to it. The T.S.B. will only receive a copy of the final report when it is published, she said.

Habib Haghjoo, an Iranian-born Canadian who lost his daughter and granddaughter in the crash, said he did not trust the news from Tehran and stressed that his priority was the report.

“They want to wrap it up,” he said of Iran. “We want the truth.”