VIDEO: Trudeau says Iran must take full responsibility for jetliner’s downing

‘This is a tragedy that should not have happened,’ the prime minister said

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Iran must take full responsibility for mistakenly shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 civilians on board, including 57 Canadians.

At an afternoon news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau said that accountability must include a creditable investigation and compensation for the families of the dead.

“This is a tragedy that should not have happened,” the prime minister said.

“Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific. Iran must take full responsibility,” he said.

“I am, of course, outraged and furious that families across this country are grieving the loss of their loved ones; that the Iranian-Canadian community is suffering so greatly; that all Canadians are shocked and appalled at this senseless loss of life.”

Trudeau’s news conference came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged Saturday that an Iranian missile took down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

Rouhani, who spoke with Trudeau over the phone Saturday, posted on Twitter that an Iranian military investigation concluded “missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash.”

The admission came a day after Iran denied claims being made by Canada, Britain and the United States that the plane was shot down by Iran, possibly accidentally.

In addition to the 57 Canadian citizens on the plane, dozens more were bound for Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.

Rouhani said investigations will continue to “identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake.”

READ MORE: Iran admits it shot down Ukrainian plane by mistake, killing 176 aboard

“My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families,” he said. “I offer my sincerest condolences.”

Nadia Eghbali, whose aunt, uncle and eight-year-old cousin died in the crash, said it was hard to process all of her emotions after hearing the Iranian government admit that they accidentally shot the plane down.

“We’re in complete shock, we’re full of so much emotion. There’s anger, there’s so many things, we just don’t know why this happened,” said Eghbali. “At a time like this, they needed to stop all flights. It should have been stopped to prevent anything like this.”

Nina Saeidpour, whose friend Kasra Saati died in the crash, said Iran’s admission stirred up “mixed emotions.” Saeidpour, from Calgary, said Saati had travelled to Iran over the holidays for a reunion with his wife and two children.

“In some ways we are happy that our government just came forward and said that they did it instead of hiding everything. On the other hand everybody is again in shock about why such a thing should happen,” Saeidpour said.

Officials from Global Affairs Canada and investigators from the Transportation Safety Board were waiting to get access to Iran so they can both be part of the investigation and provide consular services to families of Canadian victims. Trudeau said three visas had been issued so far and the first members of the team were expected to be on the ground in Iran within the day.

The plane’s downing came hours after Iran launched missile attacks at two military bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq. Those attacks were retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in an American airstrike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

A military statement delivered on Iranian state television said the civilian airliner was mistaken for a “hostile target” when it turned toward a sensitive military site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, an elite unit of the country’s military.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif still pointed some blame towards the Americans, saying on Twitter, “human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster.”

Trudeau said accidents like the downing of the plane are what happen when tension is high and he said things need to calm down in the region.

“The reality is there have been significant tensions in that region for a long time and what we are calling for now is a de-escalation to ensure that there are no more tragic accidents,” he said.

Ukraine’s president said Iran must issue an official apology and also called for compensation for the disaster. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine expects a “full and open investigation, bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

The dead also included citizens of Iran, Ukraine, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan and Germany. Champagne said Canada is leading the group of nations to advocate with “one single voice.”

— with files from Salmaan Farooqui in Toronto, Chris Reynolds in Montreal and The Associated Press

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Epic sky palace’: Island businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan death

Man, 53, dies after reported assault early Monday

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Tenant forced out of sewage-flooded Victoria building angry at ‘lack of human decency’

Woman says tenants weren’t treated like ‘human beings’ when forced from homes in Wellburn’s building

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Proposed development freeze melts in North Cowichan

Huge pro-business crowd at Monday night meeting carries the day

Victoria man out $6,000 in latest gift card phone scam

Fraudsters claimed to be a member of a bank’s “fraud sting team”

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Nanaimo hospital’s new 5,000-kilogram MRI magnet delivered

$1.97-million magnet will boost NRGH medical imaging capabilities

Most Read