By Jack Phillips
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the plane that crashed in Iran, killing 176 people—including dozens of Canadian nationals—was likely shot down by an Iranian missile.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional,” the prime minister told reporters Thursday in a news conference.
Trudeau was asked about whether the downing of the plane was an intentional act and replied that he’s not ruling it out. “It is really too early to draw any conclusions,” he told reporters. “The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers. That means closure, accountability, and justice. We will not rest until we get that,” he added.
President Donald Trump also suggested on Thursday that he doesn’t believe the plane went down due to a mechanical error. “It’s a tragic thing. But somebody could have made a mistake, on the other side,” Trump told reporters.
Ukraine Airlines flight PS752 crashed near Tehran shortly after takeoff on Tuesday night, hours after Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.
According to officials, 63 passengers on the plane had Canadian passports, and many others were living in Canada as permanent residents or had visas.
“We have a high level of confidence that this was shot down by Iran,” an unnamed American official was quoted by the Journal as saying.
The Epoch Times could not independently verify the reports, and Department of Defense officials have not responded for comment.
Data showed the Boeing 737-800 was airborne for two minutes after departing Tehran when the heat signatures of two surface-to-air missiles were detected, one of the officials said, Reuters reported.
Following the reports of Iran’s involvement, the country’s head of civil aviation denied the reports as “illogical rumors.”
“Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumors are illogical,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) chief Ali Abedzadeh told the ISNA News Agency.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement that he spoke to Iran’s foreign minister about the accident.
Iranian officials should allow Canadian investigators “to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash,” a statement said, reported Reuters. “Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered.”
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