Iran invited Canada to participate in the investigation of a downed Boeing plane that killed 176 people, including 63 Canadians, it was announced Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports.
A statement posted on the website of the Civil Aviation Organization from Iran said Ukraine invited a 45-person team from Ukraine International Airlines, the plane’s operator, that arrived Thursday in Tehran.
The Iranian announcement follows the release Thursday by Global Affairs Canada of a readout of the talk Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne had with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012 after designating the country a state sponsor of terrorism.
“Minister Champagne stressed the need for Canadian officials to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with the identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash,” according to the readout on the Global Affairs website.
It said Canadians have “many questions which will need to be answered” and “(Champagne) also condemned Iranian strikes targeting bases in Iraq where Coalition forces, including Canadians, are stationed.”
A senior Ukrainian official said investigators were looking into unconfirmed reports that parts of a Russian-manufactured surface-to-air missile were found at the crash site. Such missiles are part of Iran’s arsenal.
The official, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, also said on Facebook that other theories that may have caused the crash have been put forward, including collision with a drone, engine explosion, or terrorist act.
Iranian officials said the black box flight data recorders were recovered but were damaged.
Iran at first announced Boeing and US officials would not be part of the investigation, but seemed to walk that back Thursday.