Ten Iranian officials have been indicted over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people outside Tehran in January 2020.
This was reported by The Associated Press (AP) with reference to a military prosecutor in Iran.
Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments on Tuesday, it reported.
Read alsoPS752 downing: Ukraine, Canada preparing for new talks with IranThe announcement came just hours before Iran and the five world powers remaining in its atomic accord meet in Vienna, where the U.S. is due to start indirect talks with Tehran.
Downing of UIA plane in Iran: Background
- On January 8, 2020, Kyiv-bound Boeing 737 passenger jet flight PS752, operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), was shot down in Iran shortly after takeoff from Tehran Airport. All 176 people on board, including 11 Ukrainian nationals – nine crew and two passengers – were killed. Among the victims were also citizens of Iran, Canada, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
- Three days later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted that the Ukrainian liner had been shot down as a result of an unintentional "human error," and promised to bring those responsible to justice.
- On October 19, 2020, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran. After the meeting, Yenin said Iran was ready to provide equal compensations to the relatives of all victims of the UIA plane, regardless of their citizenship. However, on December 9, 2020, Yenin said Iran had withdrawn the offer to handle the compensations.
- On December 31, 2020, at the fifth attempt, Iran submitted to Ukraine a draft technical report on the plane downing. Ukraine had two months to provide comments and suggestions on the report.
- Later it became known about secret audio recordings that indicate that the Iranian authorities will never reveal the truth about the downing of the Ukrainian plane.
- According to Canada's CBC News, the Canadian government and security agencies are examining an audio recording in which a man – identified by sources as Iran's foreign affairs minister – discusses the possibility that the destruction of flight PS752 was an intentional act.
- In late February 2021, Ukraine handed more than 90 pages of comments on the draft technical report over to Iran and insisted that Iran include them in the final document.
- On March 17, 2021, Iran released a final report, which stated it was an error by an air defense operator for the accidental downing of UIA Flight PS752. The plane was identified as a hostile target.
- In turn, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Iran's final report on PS752 had failed to take into account Ukraine's remarks and contained manipulative conclusions.