Tehran has dismissed claims that the crashed Ukrainian Boeing 737 was hit by an Iranian missile as “psychological warfare,” calling on countries that lost citizens in the crash to send representatives to join its probe.
“All these reports are psychological warfare against Iran,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Thursday. “All those countries whose citizens were aboard the plane can send representatives and we urge Boeing to send its representative to join the process of investigating the black box.”
Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) Chief, Ali Abedzadeh said, “The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash.”
He further added that witnesses had seen the plane catch fire before it crashed and that the airliner’s pilots did not make any distress signals prior to attempting return to Imam Khomeini Airport.
Footage procured by New York Times:
The New York Times has obtained video of the moment a Ukrainian airliner was hit minutes after takeoff from Tehran. The video appears to show a missile hitting the plane prior to it catching fire, near Tehran’s airport.
Exclusive: Video verified by The New York Times shows a Ukrainian airliner being hit over Tehran on Wednesday https://t.co/brU9ZRmRX9
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 9, 2020
Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has meanwhile called on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to share the intelligence he has claimed to have from “multiple sources” that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
Ukraine has sent investigators to Tehran and an inquiry is underway into what caused the crash
We are calling on the Canadian Prime Minister and any other government that has information about the crash to hand it over to the investigation committee in Iran.
Trudeau’s claim follows statements from UK PM Boris Johnson that his government is “urgently looking into” reports that the plane was shot down by a missile and speculation from US President Donald Trump that he had “suspicions” that “somebody could have made a mistake.”
— RT (@RT_com) January 10, 2020
While Trump did not explicitly accuse Tehran of shooting down the plane, anonymous US officials have told media that it was “highly likely” Iranian air defenses brought it down. The Pentagon has not commented in an official capacity.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on its way to Kiev early Wednesday morning, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board. Ukraine has sent investigators to Tehran and an inquiry is underway into what caused the crash.
— Dakoda (@Dakoda_1022) January 10, 2020
Iran has welcomed all countries who lost citizens in the crash, as well as Boeing representatives, to take part in the investigation, and even stated it might enlist the help of French or Canadian experts to decode the data in the black boxes recovered from the wreckage, with the results being “published and publicized to the world.”
However, it has flatly refused to hand the boxes over to the US, slamming the “illogical” rumors implicating Tehran in the wreck.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk.