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Suspicion Grows as Iran Denies Ukraine Jetliner “Black Boxes” to US

The Islamic Republic of Iran had just buried General Qasem Soleimani and a new plight crashed upon its land. Hours after its ballistic missiles blitz on the American air bases in Iraq, a Ukraine International Airlines crashed moments after taking off from Tehran.

The three-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 737-800 plane didn’t make any radio call for help and was trying to turn back for the airport, when it crashed down in the field on the outskirts of Iran, according to report released by Iran on Thursday. It also stated that the aircraft was struck by a sudden emergency.

The report also stated that the plane was burning in flames before it hit the ground on Wednesday, as narrated by the eyewitnesses including the crew of a passing flight. However, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, conducting the investigation into the case, didn’t offer any immediate explanation regarding the crash.

The Ukraine jetliner crash reportedly killed all the 176 passengers and crew members onboard. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko highlighted that there were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three British nationals, which included nine crew members on board.

Investigation into the incident would normally have been carried out by Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), but the ongoing crisis in Iran would make it all different and possibly difficult.

According to the report, the flight recorders containing data and the cockpit communications from the plane have been recovered. However, they were reported to be damaged, in wake of which certain parts of the memory was lost.

Iranian aviation authority recently denied to hand over these two “black boxes” to both the US aviation authorities and the aircraft’s manufacturer. “We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer and the Americans. It’s not yet clear which country the black box will go to for the investigation,” said Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation.

Leaders of Canada and Ukraine issued a statement, vowing to identify the cause of incident, amidst the conflicting statements and spinning speculations. “Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that … [the crash] is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ukraine Internal Airlines’ flight PS752 reportedly disappeared from the flight trackers minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. An unverified video posted on the website of the state-run Iranian Students News Agency showed a plane burning brightly in the sky, before it exploded in flames on the horizon.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also said, “Our priority is to establish the truth and those responsible for this terrible catastrophe.”

After several international airlines suspended the Iranian and Iraqi airspace and the FAA banned the US aircrafts over the two nations, Ukraine too stated to avoid flying over the two countries.

The crash incident is slowly spreading the fire towards a political direction. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently urged for complete cooperation with any investigation and stated that America was prepared to offer Ukraine all possible assistance in identifying the reason behind the crash.

With Iran’s denial on handing over the black box of the crashed aircraft, the suspicion into the case has escalate. However, an escalation to the feud is also a possibility as the investigations have involved the United States lately.

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