Iran plane crash: Families of Canadian victims to receive $25,000
17 January 2020, 21:51
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada will provide money to the families of those killed in the Ukraine Airlines crash.
The relatives of the 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents will receive C$25,000 (£14,600) to help with funeral costs, travel to Iran and other related expenses.
Tragedy struck when a Boeing 737, travelling from Tehran to Kyiv, crashed outside the Iranian capital on 8 January, killing all 176 people on board.
Iran's military later admitted responsibility for shooting down the Ukrainian airliner after firing ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing US forces
The attack was in response to the USA killing the country's top military general Qassem Soleimani.
Mr Trudeau said he still expected Iran to help compensate the families and repeated the claim that the country was fully responsible for shooting down the aircraft.
Any money provided by the Middle Eastern country will be paid directly to the victims' loved ones and not reimbursed to the Canadian government, he confirmed.
The Canadian leader claimed the Middle Eastern nation does not have the necessary expertise or technology to analyse the jet's significantly damaged black boxes, but that a lab in France does.
French accident investigating bureau (BEA) spokesman Sebastien Barthe said his organisation had no information on when they would obtain the black boxes.
He added that it was up to Iran to decide whether or not to hand them over.
Mr Trudeau said Canadian bodies had not yet been returned home, however he expected that process to begin in the coming days.
The prime minister was holding a news conference in Ottawa after Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne met his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Muscat, Oman on Friday.
A statement from Mr Champagne's office said the two discussed the importance of a transparent investigation, as well as the need to provide consular services to assist in ensuring victim identification.
"The Ministers also discussed the need for a transparent analysis of the black box data, to which Iran agreed," the statement read.
"In addition, they discussed the duty Iran has towards the families of the victims - including compensation.
"Minister Zarif expressed his support for Iran continuing to work with Canada and all grieving nations in these respects."
Canadian-Iranian diplomatic relations were suspended in 2012, but Mr Trudeau and Canada's foreign minister have been in touch with their Iranian counterparts since the plane was shot down.
Of the 176 people on board, 138 were headed for Canada, including students, newlyweds, doctors, parents and a one-year-old girl.