French agency reads black boxes of Ukrainian aircraft that were shut down in January over Iran

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France said on Friday that they would download the black boxes from a Ukrainian aircraft shot down by an Iranian missile in January, and facilitate a balance on where they should be loaded.

France’s Bureau of Investigation into the BEA crash said it acted on Iran’s request, which remains responsible under global rules for conducting a formal accident probe after admitting Boeing 737 was shut down by its forces.

The Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down on January 8 by an Iranian ground-to-air missile, killing 176 people in what Tehran called a “catastrophic mistake” in a time of heightened tensions with the United States.

Work to repair and download the cockpit voice and data recorder will begin July 20, BEA said.

The aviation authorities in Canada, whose 57 citizens were killed, said they would send a team to Paris to participate.

A spokesman for the US National Transportation Safety Board said the agency “is still participating in the investigation as a manufacturing permit through our US accredited representative” but did not say whether officials would travel to France to participate.

Canada: Too soon for diplomatic ties with Tehran

Iran wants Canada to reestablish diplomatic ties that were broken by 2012, but Tehran did not set this as a prerequisite for sending the recorders to France, a Canadian official said.

“It is not realistic to expect us to hold any discussions about this anytime soon,” said the official, who requested anonymity in view of the sensitivity of the situation.

Canada’s priorities were a full probe into the crash and compensation for the victims’ families, the official added.

Iran’s envoy to the United Nations Aviation Agency said this month that the country’s Air Accident Investigation Board had asked BEA to read the black boxes, although this was followed by conflicting ministerial declarations.

Friday’s announcement suggests that Western and Iranian officials will jointly witness the technical work, even if a person following the case does not rule out last-minute changes.

BEA has a history of helping with sensitive probes when tensions are high between directly involved parties.

(Reuters)

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