OTTAWA — Despite the daunting hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Iran must stay as much as its pledge to co-operate with the investigation into its downing of a business airliner in January, says International Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.
That features the unfulfilled, two-week-old promise by Tehran to give up the flight recorders of Ukraine Worldwide Airways Flight 752, which the Iranian army shot down on Jan. 8. All 176 folks aboard have been killed, together with 55 passengers who have been Canadian residents and 30 who have been everlasting residents.
In separate interviews with The Canadian Press, Champagne and Andriy Shevchenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, mentioned the black boxes haven’t been despatched to Kyiv as Iran had pledged.
Iran’s consultant to the Worldwide Civil Aviation Group in Montreal promised on March 11 to switch them inside two weeks to help with Ukraine’s investigation into the crash.
Iran is among the hardest-hit nations within the pandemic with greater than 27,000 instances of the virus and greater than 2,200 deaths.
“On one hand, this is a crisis, a health crisis of unprecedented proportion that we’re living,” Champagne mentioned.
“But on the other hand, we need to make sure that we get answers and that the tragedy … that the families are still living. We have to push for these answers and push the Iranian regime for that.”
The COVID-19 outbreak is presenting new challenges to the already-frustrated households of Canadian victims, who’re having problem getting solutions from Ottawa as the federal government responds to the worldwide well being disaster.
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Hamed Esmaeilion is a Toronto-area dentist who misplaced his spouse, Parisa, and nine-year-old daughter Reera on the combat.
In an interview Thursday, Esmaeilion mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the cancellation of a number of deliberate conferences between the households of these killed and Canadian officers.
Households had been hoping for updates on efforts to carry these accountable accountable and safe compensation from Iran and the airline. The RCMP is aiding Ukraine’s prison probe into the crash whereas the Transportation Security Board is concerned in Iran’s flight-safety investigation.
Flight 752: Champagne says Iran will deliver black boxes
“It has changed everything for us because we were supposed to have some meetings, especially here in Canada, and they’ve all been cancelled,” Esmaeilion mentioned. “Even family meetings, we have to do it all online.”
It has additionally been troublesome to self-isolate due to COVID-19 when he’s nonetheless grieving his spouse and daughter and scuffling with frustration over Iran’s continued refusal to show over the jetliner’s flight recorders, Esmaeilion mentioned.
“I refreshed the (ICAO) website a hundred times yesterday to see if there’s any new news, and there wasn’t,” Esmaeilion mentioned. “It is very, very frustrating for us. I’m in touch with lots of families and we don’t know what to do. We are really confused.”
Champagne mentioned he spoke this week together with his Ukrainian counterpart to see if Iran had fulfilled its dedication. He was informed Kyiv and Tehran are nonetheless engaged on the “terms of reference” for the switch.
Flight 752: Champagne says there might be an Iranian delegation coming to Kyiv quickly
“Both parties are negotiating, I would say, these terms of reference,” mentioned Champagne.
Shevchenko mentioned in an interview this week that his nation expects Iran to fulfil its promise handy over the flight recorders, and that the worldwide neighborhood must work collectively to verify it does.
COVID-19 “makes our work with Iran much more complicated and the best we hear from Iran is that because of the situation with the virus, they cannot do this and that,” he added. “So, this definitely makes things slower. Nevertheless, we see no reason why we cannot advance.”
Esmaeilion however worries COVID-19 has distracted Canadian officers because the federal authorities struggles to answer the disaster and has eased the worldwide stress on Iran to co-operate with investigators and convey justice for the victims and their households.
“For most of the families, there’s nothing more important than justice,” he mentioned. “And every morning when we get up, every night when we go to bed, we’re just thinking about justice because it doesn’t make sense what they did.”
Champagne mentioned the federal government isn’t forgetting the guarantees it made to Canadian households after the tragedy. He mentioned it has fulfilled two of them gaining consular entry to Iran and repatriating the stays of crash victims.
Extra work must be achieved on the crash investigation and securing compensation for the victims’ households, he mentioned.
“We stood up for Canadian families,” Champagne mentioned.
“We said to them we’d stand up for them from Day 1 and we will continue to do so. We’re seeking answers from Iran. We want accountability, justice, transparency.”
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