TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko, in a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, expressed his gratitude to the Islamic Republic for close cooperation in investigations into a recent deadly crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran.
In the phone call on Thursday night, Zarif and Prystaiko exchanged views about the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 8.
Zarif voiced Iran’s readiness to transfer the bodies of the Ukrainian victims of the incident and to involve experts from the country in the black box investigations.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister also thanked for the swift declaration of responsibility and Iran’s cooperation in all stages.
In a statement on Saturday, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said the incident took place following Iranian missile strikes on a military base of the criminal US regime in Iraq and amid a possible threat of hostile military actions.
“Following the threats from the president and the military commanders of the criminal US that a large number of targets on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soil would be hit in case of a retaliatory operation, and considering an unprecedented increase in the aerial movements over the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces were on the highest level of readiness in order to respond to possible threats,” the statement read.
It also said that military flights by the terrorist American forces had increased around Iran after the missile attack and there were reports that hostile aircraft posing threats to Iranian strategic centers had been tracked on radar screens, making the Iranian Air Defense more sensitive.
The statement added that the Ukrainian passenger plane had been approaching a sensitive military site of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in a latitude and with a form similar to those of a hostile object, and that a “human error” caused the jetliner to be hit unintentionally, leading to the martyrdom of the passengers.
It also offered an apology for the human error and expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims, giving an assurance that “fundamental reforms” in the operational processes of the Armed Forces would prevent a recurrence of such errors.
The victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.
All 179 people on board the Boeing 737, including nine crew, were killed when the jetliner crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport on Wednesday morning.
The plane operated by Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) was bound for Kiev.