Iran asks for US and French help in Ukrainian airliner crash investigations after admitting it shot it down by mistake

epa08140923 A handout photo made available by the Presidential Press Service of Ukraine showing relatives, friends and officials meet coffins with bodies of crew members and victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 at Boryspil International Airport in Kiev, Ukraine, 19 January 2020 after their bodies were returned from Iran. Iran admitted on 11 January that its armed forces had downed a Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet with 176 civilians on board and said it had been an involuntary human error. EPA-EFE/HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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Iran said it had asked the U.S. and French authorities for equipment to download information from black boxes on a downed Ukrainian airliner, potentially angering countries which want the recorders analysed abroad.

Update: The Guardian reports that Iran says its armed forces mistakenly launched two surface-to-air missiles at a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed with 176 people onboard earlier this month, its first acknowledgement of the precise number of rounds fired at the airliner.

Assessments by western intelligence agencies and video footage from the launch site had pointed to two missiles being fired at the Boeing 737-800 on the morning of 8 January, but Iranian officials had so far referenced only one until the release of preliminary report on Tuesday by the country’s civil aviation authority.

The U.S.-built Boeing 737 flown by Ukraine International Airlines was shot down in error on Jan. 8.

Tehran, already embroiled in a long-running standoff with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month, has given mixed signals about whether it would hand over the recorders.

An Iranian aviation official had said on Saturday the black boxes would be sent to Ukraine, only to backtrack in comments reported a day later, saying they would be analyzed at home.

“If the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said in its second preliminary report on the disaster released late on Monday.

Its initial report was released just 24 hours after the incident, before Iran’s military acknowledged its role.

A list of equipment Iran needs has been sent to French accident agency BEA and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Iranian aviation body said.

“Until now, these countries have not given a positive response to sending the equipment to (Iran),” it said. It said two surface-to-air TOR-M1 missiles had been launched minutes after the Ukrainian plane took off from Tehran.

via Kyiv Post / Reuters 

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