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Iran's Zarif Says Canada's Complaint Over Ukrainian Airliner Crash 'Lacks Legal Basis'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif at a rally in Tehran on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. February 11, 2020.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Tuesday said Canadian complaints about a Ukrainian passenger plane that was shot down by the Revolutionary Guard has no legal basis.

Speaking to reporters at the side-lines of a rally on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, when asked about Canadian complaints against Iran Zarif said "Iran's actions are based on international rules" without further explanation on the nature of Iran's actions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded that Iran hand over the black boxes of the downed Ukrainian airliner to be decoded in France, one of the few countries able to analyze the data from the flight recorder.

Meanwhile, Canadian lawyers representing the families of some of the 57 Iranian-Canadian victims of the crash are launching a class-action lawsuit against Iran for a total of 1.5 billion Canadian dollars ($1.1 billion). Iran does not recognize dual citizenship and considers the dual national victims who were Iranian citizens as subject only to Iranian law.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko has also been pressing Iran to hand over the black box. On Monday Prystaiko said that the plane was not shut down just because some soldier over-reacted. "We want to know the chain of command," he said and demanded that whoever gave the order to shoot the plane be brought to justice.