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UN Agency Calls On Iran To Speed Probe Into Downing Of Ukraine-Bound Plane

People hold posters with names of the people killed in the Ukraine International Airlines plane that was shot down in Iran in January during a commemoration ceremony in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kyiv on February 17.

A UN agency has called on Iran to speed up its investigation into a Kyiv-bound passenger plane mistakenly shot down in January, killing 176 people.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council on November 6 urged Iran to "expedite the accident investigation" into the deadly crash of the Ukrainian jet.

"We have had several exchanges with the Iranian CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] in which we urged its authorities to expedite the accident investigation in accordance with ICAO Annex 13 provisions," ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano said.

Annex 13 calls for final accident reports to be issued within 12 months of a crash.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's main airport on January 8.

Iranian officials eventually admitted that the country's forces accidentally shot down the Kyiv-bound flight.

A misaligned missile battery and miscommunication between soldiers and superior officers were to blame for incident, according to Iran's aviation authorities.

Flight 752 was downed the same night that Iran had launched a ballistic-missile attack that targeted U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and Tehran's air defenses were on high alert at the time in case of retaliation.

Iran's missile attack was in response to a U.S. drone strike that had killed the powerful commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Major General Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad five days earlier.

Both ICAO's Sciacchitano and Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau cited the "grief and expectations" of the families of Flight 752's crash victims.

Canada is involved because it lost 55 nationals and 30 permanent residents in the crash. It has demanded answers from Tehran after its "limited" initial report failed to explain why it fired missiles at the craft.

The Iranian representative to ICAO, Farhad Parvaresh, told Reuters that he had reported to the council on the progress of the investigation.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP