Canada demands answers from Iran

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 13 Jan 2020

A "furious" Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded Iran provide Canada with "full clarity" on the shootdown near Tehran of a Ukrainian airliner that killed all 176 aboard, including dozens of Canadian citizens.

Trudeau said he made the demand in a call with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who admitted that the airliner was mistakenly shot down by Iranian missiles.

At a televised press conference, Trudeau said he told Rouhani the admission was "an important step" but "many more steps must be taken."

"A full and complete investigation must be conducted," he said. "We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred."

Trudeau said he insisted to Rouhani that Canada be allowed to participate in the investigation.

Rouhani's admission prompted a student protest against the government during a vigil to pay tribute to the crash victims.

Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain's ambassador to Tehran, in what the British government called a violation of international law. Rob Macaire was later released and insisted he was at the Amir Kabir University "to pay respects" to the victims, some of whom were British.

Meanwhile, a Canadian rapid deployment team was on its way to Iran to support families of the Canadian victims, Trudeau said.

By Ottawa's count, 57 Canadian citizens, many dual Iranian nationals, were aboard the Ukraine International Airlines flight when it crashed January 8 shortly after takeoff from Tehran's airport.

After days of delay and amid mounting international pressure, Iran's Revolutionary Guards admitted the plane was mistaken for a cruise missile and shot down with a short-range missile. The incident came just hours after Iran launched missiles at bases hosting American forces in Iraq in response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani.

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