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World 'Won't Rest' Until Iran Answers Questions on Jet Crash, Says Canada; Nations Seek Compensation

Foreign ministers of Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, Britain and Afghanistan hold a moment of silence for the families of the victims of the Ukraine plane crash. (Reuters)

Foreign ministers of Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, Britain and Afghanistan hold a moment of silence for the families of the victims of the Ukraine plane crash. (Reuters)

Foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was speaking after talks with counterparts from countries whose nationals were among the 176 people killed when the plane was hit after taking off from Tehran last week.

  • Agencies
  • Last Updated: January 16, 2020, 11:28 PM IST
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London: Canada's foreign minister on Thursday vowed to push Iran for answers about the mistaken downing of a passenger plane after the US killed one of Tehran's top commanders.

Iran had just hours earlier fired strikes against US troops stationed in Iraq in retaliation for a drone attack that killed its most prominent general, Qasem Soleimani.

"Families want answers, the international community wants answers, the world is waiting for answers and we will not rest until we get them," Francois-Philippe Champagne said at a meeting here.

Champagne was speaking after talks with counterparts from countries -- UK, Afghanistan, Sweden and Ukraine -- whose nationals were among the 176 people killed when the plane was hit after taking off from Tehran last week.

The governments of countries that lost their citizens have demanded Tehran accept full responsibility and pay compensation to the victims' families. The victims included 57 Canadian citizens as well as 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans and four British citizens, as well as Iranians.

"We are here to pursue closure, accountability, transparency and justice for the victims," Champagne said, adding Iran had accepted responsibility but only a full investigation would reveal the exact cause and who was responsible.

Iran's initial denial of claims based on US intelligence that the Boeing 737 was hit by a missile sparked days of protests and international calls for a full and transparent investigation.

But the Islamic republic later accepted the jet had been targeted "unintentionally". President Hassan Rouhani called it an "unforgivable mistake".

In a joint statement after Thursday's talks, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain issued a five-point plan for cooperation with Iran.

It called for "full and unhindered access" for foreign officials to and within Iran and "a thorough, independent and transparent international investigation".

Iran should "assume full responsibility for the downing of flight PS752 and (recognise) its duties towards the families of the victims and other parties -- including compensation".

In addition, it called for those responsible to be held to account in an independent criminal investigation and trial in line with international standards of due process and human rights.

Champagne told a news conference that families of those who died needed closure and there was a need to prevent similar incidents in the future.

"When you accept full responsibility there are consequences coming from that," he said.

The ministers earlier took part in a candle lighting ceremony and a moment's silence at Canada House in London in memory of the victims.
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