Families of victims of the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards accused in a report on Wednesday high-ranking Iranian officials of being behind the incident, not an accident caused by a missile system operator, as Tehran says.
The report by an association of mostly Canadian families of the victims of Flight PS752 challenges official Iranian findings that blamed a radar misguidance and an air defense system operator error for shooting down the plane shortly after it took off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board were killed.
The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization, which was responsible for investigating the crash, said the operator mistakenly thought the plane was a missile at a time of high tension between Iran and the United States.
A Canadian investigation in June convicted those responsible for the accident, but found no evidence that the tragedy was premeditated.
The association’s report said it believed that “high-ranking officials in Iran were responsible for the downing of Flight PS752 and not just a few low-level members…as the government of Iran alleges.”
“With the highest levels of military alert, the government of Iran has used passenger flights as a human shield in the face of potential US attacks, by deliberately not closing the airspace to civilian flights,” he added.
“We believe that the downing of (flight plane) PS752 was a premeditated act,” the association’s president, Hamid Ismailyoun, said in a virtual press conference.
The association said that it based its report on public information and recordings of “high-ranking Iranian officials” among its sources and prepared it with the assistance of legal and aviation experts.
The report stated that the missile system operator is an expert and should be able to differentiate between an aircraft and a cruise missile.
A Canadian government spokeswoman said her country was analyzing the report, which called for an international investigation. Many of the accident victims are Canadians or permanent residents of Canada.
On Wednesday, a group representing ministers from Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and Britain urged Iran to provide full compensation for the downing of the plane, noting that Tehran had not agreed to recent requests to meet and negotiate.