Iran tells Western leaders to stop spreading lies on plane crash

A week after Iran’s top general was assassinated in a US drone attack, Western politicians, officials and media have started a psychological warfare targeting Iran over a deadly plane crash near Tehran, local reports say.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei, above, on Friday dismissed their remarks that one of its missiles could have mistakenly downed the Boeing 737 passenger plane of Ukraine International Airlines minutes after it took off from Imam Khomeini International Airport early on Wednesday. All 176 on board died in the crash.

Rabiei said the US and Canadian authorities must show evidence of Iran’s involvement in the plane crash adding that their “lies” were causing more pain to the families of the crash victims.

After going through media reports, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the possibility of a missile strike on the aircraft cannot be ruled out or confirmed now.

Iran’s top civil aviation official Ali Abedzadeh said on Friday no missile had hit the plane. The reason behind the crash could be determined only after reopening the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

The authorities have recovered the recorders which is being examined.

Since the recorders were damaged in the crash, it may be difficult to extract information directly without the help of special software and hardware, Abedzadeh said.

If Iran cannot download and analyse the flight recorder data, it will seek the help of Russia, France, Canada or Ukraine.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reveal the sources that led him to tell media that the plane was shot down by Iran’s surface-to-air missile.

Trudeau said he made the claim based on statements from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump.

Newsweek magazine, citing Pentagon and US intelligence services, reported the plane could have been downed by an Iranian missile.

Pentagon has not released any official statement on the cause of the crash so far.

According to IRNA, civil aviation authorities from the US, Canada and France are heading to Iran to attend meetings of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization and Iran Air Accidents Commission.

According to International Civil Aviation Organization rules, representatives of Iran, Ukraine, Boeing and France can take part in the investigation of the crash.

Ukraine’s representative has already arrived in Tehran.

Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, an independent investigator, told TASS that it is willing to help in probing the plane crash if Iran makes a request.