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Relatives of Ukrainian Plane Crash Victims Hold Protest Assembly in Tehran

Families of flight PS752 victims gathering in front of IPIS where Ukrainian and Iranian officials are negotiating. Monday, October 19, 2020.

Family members of the passengers of the Ukrainian plane shot down by two Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' missile in January 2020 rallied in front of the Iranian International and Political Studies Center of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran.

At the rally held on Tuesday morning, they demanded that a member of the victims' families attend the Ukraine-Iran talks on the case and meet with Ukrainian delegation members.

The Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry's Center for International and Political Studies is hosting the second round of talks on the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane that was flying from Tehran to Kyiv. The second round of negotiations started yesterday.

The first round of talks on the UIA's Boeing downing was held two months ago and was limited to presenting questions and expressing the parties' positions.

On January 8, as Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 took off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini international airport heading to Kyiv, the IRGC fired two missiles at the plane. The three-year-old Boeing crashed near Tehran, killing all 167 people aboard.

The crash victims included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three Britons. Only after three days did the Guard take responsibility for the tragedy.

Before the second round of talks, the head of the Ukrainian negotiating team, Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeni Yenin, told Radio Farda that "the Iranian side never fulfills its promises."

Yenin also claimed that Kyiv is seeking the truth about the tragedy, rather than receiving compensation.

In videos released from Tuesday's gathering, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs, Mohsen Baharvand, promised the victims' relatives that there would be no "negligence" about the case, and that the report on the outcome of investigations on the crash has been prepared.

Responding to the senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official, the victims' family members dismissed the reports as "false." Another protester told Baharvand that they did not trust Iranian officials and demanded a brief meeting with Ukrainian delegation members in charge of following up the tragedy.

Meanwhile, one of the victims' relatives present at the gathering said the plane's downing was "not an accident" but a "crime against humanity." Another one objected to Iranian officials calling the victims "martyrs."

The victims' families also emphasized that they would not "forgive" the perpetrators of the tragedy, and they should go on trial first before compensation is paid to the victims' relatives.

On August 25, the victims' family members gathered in front of the Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran and met with Kyiv's Ambassador to Iran, Sergey Burdylyak.

The victims' families abroad have also formed the "Flight 752 Victims' Families Association" and are planning to file lawsuits against senior Iranian government officials in international forums.

In their latest action on October 16, they filed a lawsuit in the federal court in Washington against Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the Chief-Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major-General Hossein Salami.

The association members previously filed a lawsuit in a Canadian court seeking $1.1 billion in damages from the Iranian government.