Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on Friday, January 17, Tehran to send the black boxes from the Ukrainian plane, which was “accidentally” shot down by Iran on January 8, to a laboratory in France.
He also announced emergency financial aid for the Canadians who lost their loved ones in the disaster and called on Iran to compensate the victims of the tragedy quickly.
As for the black boxes, “only a few countries such as France have laboratories capable of doing this,” Trudeau said at a press conference, noting that France had already offered its services. “This would be the right place to send these black boxes and get the right information out in time, and that’s what we’re encouraging the Iranian authorities to agree to,” Trudeau added.
Of the 176 victims, 57 were Canadian citizens. Another 29 victims had permanent resident status in Canada, Trudeau said.
“The black boxes have been significantly damaged and it’s extremely important… that they be examined as soon as possible,” he added. “The French have certainly offered to do the analysis, the international community, including Canadian experts, could be present in that process,” he said.
According to the Iranian news agency Tasnim, broadcast by Reuters, the black boxes will be transferred to Kiev. Thanks to the expertise of countries such as France, Canada and the United States, we will try to read (the data recorder) in Kiev,” explained the director of the accident investigation of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, before announcing that if this fails, the black boxes will be sent to France.
Justin Trudeau said the families of the Canadians who died in the disaster will receive immediate government aid of 25,000 Canadian dollars (17,000 euros). This aid will be used to compensate these families for travel arrangements and funerals,” he added.
The first has yet to be repatriated “in the coming days”.
“I want to be clear. We expect Iran to compensate these families,” Trudeau said at a press conference. “I’ve met them. They can’t wait weeks. They need immediate help,” he insisted. The first remains of the Canadians should be repatriated “in the next few days,” he said. Canada broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012 to protest against Tehran’s support for the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
The head of Canadian diplomacy, Francois-Philippe Champagne, also came face to face for the first time with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Friday in Oman.
“Minister Zarif expressed his deep regret for this terrible tragedy,” and Francois-Philippe Champagne told him that the families of the victims “are angry and deeply hurt,” said the Canadian department.
Iran’s “Duty” to the Victims
Ministers discussed “the need for full access to Iran for representatives of Canada and other mourning countries” in order to ensure a transparent analysis of the black box data, to which Iran has agreed.
The ministers also discussed Iran’s duty towards the families of the victims, including compensation, and François-Philippe Champagne stressed on Iran’s cooperation.