Canada Accuses Iran of Downing A Plane In Tehran, Killing 176 (excerpt)
(Source: The Economist; published Jan 09, 2020)
“We have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies and our own intelligence,” declared Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, speaking on January 9th of the loss of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Tehran in the early hours of the previous day, killing 63 Canadians and 113 others.

“The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile (SAM). This may well have been unintentional.” Mr Trudeau added that “the evidence and conclusions are strong enough for me to share them with Canadians”.

The disclosure will come as a blow to the Iranian regime. To the world, it had cast itself as the victim of aggression after America’s assassination of its top general, Qassem Suleimani, on January 3rd. At home, it portrayed itself as a strong regional power, with capable forces able to deliver a prompt and precise ballistic-missile blow to American bases in Iraq. Now it risks being cast as both reckless and incompetent.

Blame the fog of war, perhaps. The plane was hit not long after 6am local time, just four hours after Iran had fired 22 missiles towards American bases in Iraq, in what turned out to be largely symbolic retaliation for General Suleimani’s assassination. Iranian defences were presumably on the alert for American reprisals for the missile strikes. “It's precisely the kind of mistake that happens when military units are on guard against being attacked,” tweeted Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the Middlebury Institute.

Iran’s response to the disaster had already aroused some disquiet. It was quick to blame a mechanical fault. Though the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800’s black-box flight recorders were soon recovered, it did not offer to share them with American or other Western investigators, who are often asked to help, and invited in the Ukrainian authorities instead.

Only after reports emerged of the shooting-down did it announce it had invited Boeing to join the investigation. Several photographs of unknown provenance and veracity earlier circulated on social media appearing to show the guidance system of a Russian-made SA-15 missile in a garden near the crash site.

On January 9th Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, said that Ukrainian investigators were looking into the matter. Iran continues to reject suggestions that it shot down the plane. “Scientifically, it is impossible...and such rumours are illogical,” declared Ali Abedzadeh, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation.

But Mr Trudeau’s comments followed news reports indicating that American intelligence agencies had detected a pair of missile launches shortly before the plane got into trouble. CBS News reported that American satellites had detected a radar being turned on, infrared blips from two missile launches and then a further blip from the plane’s explosion. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on The Economist website.

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Official Notification Received from Iran on Flight PS-752 Accident
(Source: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); issued Jan 09, 2020)
MONTRÉAL, CA. --- Consistent with the provisions contained in Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention (Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has received official notification and a preliminary accident report from the Islamic Republic of Iran surrounding the loss of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS-752 near Tehran.

ICAO continues to call for diminished speculation on the possible causes of the accident until the Annex 13 investigation is permitted to be concluded and its official results are confirmed.

International Aircraft Accident Investigations

This Fact Sheet explains how accident investigation participating States are determined, as well as the process leading to the issuance of an accident investigation Preliminary Report (within 30 days of the event) and Final Report (asap or within 12 months of the event) following completion of the investigation.

Final Reports ultimately provide as much official information as possible on an accident investigation’s findings, causes and/or contributing factors, as well as any safety recommendations on how applicable aviation safety frameworks should be amended in the future.

ICAO does not normally participate in aircraft accident investigations, except when the State or States with due authority under Annex 13— Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation request its assistance directly. In those exceptional circumstances, said assistance normally involves ICAO acting as an official observer and/or clarifying various Annex 13 requirements when requested.


A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States.

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