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Iran To Compensate Ukrainian Plane Victims, Families Say Investigation First

A Ukrainian Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines was shot down by missiles near Tehran on January 8, 2020.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Thursday said Iran has agreed to compensate the families of the victims of the Ukrainian plane shot down near Tehran on January 8 by the Revolutionary Guard.

Victims' families, however, say they want a full, independent investigation before accepting compensation.

The Swedish Foreign Minister said the countries whose citizens lost their lives in the incident have signed an agreement of mutual understanding amongst themselves which will form the basis of their negotiations with Iran regarding amends and compensation to the victims' families.

In a statement on Thursday, The International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight PS752 which consists of Afghanistan, Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, said they have formalized a common approach to holding the Iranian regime accountable.

According to the statement, the affected countries have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation regarding negotiations on reparations by Iran to pave the way for state-to-state negotiations.

The member countries also discussed the downloading of the flight recorders in France, compensation from Ukraine International Airlines and the criminal investigation into the tragedy, the statement said and added that they continue to advocate for accountability, transparency, justice and compensation for the families and loved ones of the victims.

Iran at first denied any involvement in the crash but after three days when overwhelming evidence emerged showing the plane had been shot down, Tehran claimed it was "an accident due to human error".

Iran now claims that the operator of the missile shot down the plane without having orders from his superiors. All 176 people on board the Ukrainian flight including the crew were killed in the incident.

Hamed Esmaeilion, the interim spokesperson of the victims' association, in a tweet on Thursday said the families of the victims have unanimously agreed that they will not accept any compensation from Iran before a full and fair independent investigation is made.

In another tweet on Thursday Esmaeilion who lost his daughter and wife in the crash said he had received a call from the Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne who assured him that there was no agreement between the affected countries and Iran regarding compensation yet.