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Ukraine Says Iran Can't Put Conditions For Transfer Of Downed Flight 725 Black Boxes

Relatives of Ukrainians who died in plane shot down by Iran attend ceremony unveiling memorial stone. February 17, 2020.
Relatives of Ukrainians who died in plane shot down by Iran attend ceremony unveiling memorial stone. February 17, 2020.

The Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister has told Radio Farda that Iran cannot demand any conditions for the handover of flight recorders of the Ukrainian airliner that the Revolutionary Guard downed over Tehran in January.

"A good gesture from Iran for a constructive approach to cooperation would be an actual transfer through Ukraine of black boxes for deciphering them in a country that has the technical capacity to do so. International law requires Iran to provide decryption immediately, and no conditions for transfer may be imposed," Deputy Foreign Minister Eugene Enin told the Radio Farda's correspondent in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian passenger plane was hit by two missiles shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 8. All 176 passengers and crew onboard were killed in the crash. It took Iranian authorities three days to finally admit that the Revolutionary Guard was responsible for firing the missiles at the plane.

Both sides have alleged that the other side has not been responsive to official correspondence on issues related to the incident. Enin said that Ukraine has not yet received a response to the note the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent to Iran on January 11, while the Iranian embassy in Kiev in a statement on Thursday said Iran is still awaiting a response to a "proposed package" it submitted to Ukraine three months ago.

The proposed settlement package, according to Radio Farda's sources in Ukraine, contains a vague promise of compensation in return for Ukraine abandoning any further claims against Iran and appears to oblige Ukraine and the families of victims of flight 752 to waive their right to pursue the matter any further through courts and accept "human error" as the cause of the crash.

"Our demand from Iran is very simple: both technical and criminal investigations must comply with the basic principles of impartiality, independence and transparency," Enin said and that Ukrainian investigative bodies and prosecutor's offices are constantly sending requests for legal assistance to their Iranian colleagues.

Most of the passengers on the plane were Iranian or dual citizens of Iran and other countries but Enin said Ukraine's position on all victims of the plane crash is the same. "All people are equal before the law, and the responsibility for violating the rights of all people must be the same, regardless of gender, race or nationality," he said.