Plane crash victims governments call on Iran to compensate families

 breakingnews.ie  01/16/2020 16:36:00 

Ministers from five countries who lost citizens in the passenger jet shot down over Tehran have called on Iran to accept “full responsibility” and compensate the victims’ families.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab joined counterparts from Canada, Ukraine, Sweden and Afghanistan for a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group at Canada House in central London on Thursday.

A statement issued by the ministers following the meeting outlined five key elements they said would “guide our engagement” with the Iranian authorities.

This included ensuring “Iran assumes full responsibility for the downing of flight PS752 and recognises its duties towards the families of the victims and other parties – including compensation”.

The ministers called for a “thorough, independent and transparent international investigation” into the crash, open to “grieving nations” and governed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

They also demanded “accountability” for those responsible for downing the plane, through an “independent criminal investigation followed by transparent and impartial judicial proceedings”.

The five countries also called for “full and hindered access” for their officials in Iran to provide consular services and that the identification and repatriation of victims was handled with “dignity” and according to the wishes of their families.

Present at the meeting with Mr Raab were Canada’s minister of foreign affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne, Ann Linde, Sweden’s minister of foreign affairs, Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs and Idrees Zaman, acting foreign minister for Afghanistan.

Stef Blok, minister of foreign affairs for the Netherlands, also attended.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr Champagne offered ministers’ “deepest condolences” to the victims’ families and loved ones.

“We are here to pursue closure, accountability, transparency and justice for the victims,” he added.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab lights a candle (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab lights a candle (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Champagne said the “horrific tragedy” had produced “many, many questions” and “families want answers”.

“The world is waiting for those answers and we will not rest until we get them,” he said.

Earlier, the foreign ministers took part in a solemn candle lighting ceremony at Canada House in memory of the crash victims.

All 176 people, including four British nationals, on board the Ukrainian International Airlines flight from Tehran to Kyiv were killed when the plane came down moments after take-off last week.

The majority of the plane crash victims were Iranians or Iranian-Canadians.

British citizens Sam Zokaei, Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi and Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh were identified as among the dead.

After initially denying claims it was responsible, Iran has since admitted unintentionally shooting down the aircraft.

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