Intelligence indicates Flight PS752 was shot down by Iran: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference updating the Iran plane crash in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, as Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan looks on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada has intelligence that indicates that the plane that crashed in Iran Wednesday morning, killing all 176 people aboard, was shot down by an Iranian missile – possibly by accident.

“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 said Thursday afternoon at a news conference.

Ukraine Airlines flight PS752 crashed near Tehran shortly after taking off. Sixty-three of its passengers had Canadian passports, and many others were living in Canada as permanent residents or on visas.

Trudeau declined to elaborate on what evidence Canadian officials possess that led them to believe a surface-to-air missile was to blame. U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that he also believes Iran was responsible for the plane going down.

Flanked by several senior government and defence officials, the prime minister said he had called for Iran to allow a full investigation into the crash.

“The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice,” he said.

“This government will not rest until we get that.”

Trudeau said he had been in touch with several world leaders since the crash, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, whose government led the investigation into the 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Canada and Iran have not had formal diplomatic relations since 2012, when Canada labelled Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne has talked to his Iranian counterpart about the crash.

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Trudeau said Thursday that Canada has pushed Iran to allow Canadian investigators to take part in the probe, but that their participation has not been confirmed.

The plane’s black box, which could provide pivotal clues for investigators, remains in Iran. Trudeau said that Iran has agreed to grant Ukrainian investigators access to the box, but does not intend to let it out of the country.

With files from The Canadian Press

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