Relatives react at a memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, for the victims of a Ukrainian 737-800 plane crash on the outskirts of Tehran.Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, but the move did nothing to quell Canadian demands for accountability Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Efrem Lukatsky

Relatives react at a memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, for the victims of a Ukrainian 737-800 plane crash on the outskirts of Tehran.Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, but the move did nothing to quell Canadian demands for accountability Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Efrem Lukatsky

Trudeau, O’Toole, demand accountability as Iranian officials indicted for PS752 crash

Iran released a final report that blamed “human error” for two surface-to-air missiles fired at the jetliner

Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, but the move did nothing to quell Canadian demands for accountability Tuesday.

More than 100 of the 176 victims — at least one of whom was pregnant — had ties to Canada, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

The announcement comes after Iran faced withering international criticism last month for releasing a final report into the shootdown of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 that blamed human error, but named no one responsible for the incident.

Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki similarly avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments Tuesday while handing over his office to Nasser Seraj. The semiofficial ISNA news agency and the Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency both reported his remarks.

“The indictment of the case of the Ukrainian plane was also issued and a serious and accurate investigation was carried out and indictments were issued for 10 people who were at fault,” Mizan quoted Torki as saying, without elaborating.

Kourosh Doustshenas, whose partner Forough Khadem was one of victims, said the families of the dead can’t trust the Iranian justice system because the Tehran military prosecutor didn’t disclose the names of those charged, nor the alleged offences.

“We don’t accept their assertion of what they’re saying, and we don’t believe in what they’re saying,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Doustshenas said the Iranian government has been “making a show” to avoid accountability since it published the “so-called final investigation report” a few weeks ago that was “full of lies and misrepresentations.”

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government remains “tremendously concerned about the lack of accountability that Iran continues to have on this issue.”

Trudeau said during a news briefing Tuesday that Canada would work with the international community to reform aviation standards and to ensure the families of victims “get closure, get compensation and mostly get justice from Iran.”

Doustshenas said the Canadian government has not pressed Iran hard enough to achieve accountability.

“(The Canadian government keeps) saying we want transparency and accountability, but they don’t say how they will achieve it, and what is the mechanism for it,” he said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said there should be more pressure on Iran for a full inquiry and examination of events.

“The regime should be held to account for the liability of the lives lost,” O’Toole told a news conference.

Following three days of denial in January 2020 in the face of mounting evidence, Iran finally acknowledged that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard mistakenly downed the Ukrainian jetliner with two surface-to-air missiles. In preliminary reports on the disaster last year, Iranian authorities blamed an air-defence operator who they said mistook the Boeing 737-800 for an American cruise missile.

Last month, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said Iranian officials failed to provide evidence that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by mistake, leaving key questions unanswered as Iran’s military effectively investigated itself.

The regime’s civil aviation body released a final report that blamed “human error” for two surface-to-air missiles fired at the jetliner minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Jan. 8 last year.

The Canadian government rejected the report outright, describing it as “incomplete” and devoid of “hard facts or evidence.”

Many on the flight had planned to connect in Kyiv, Ukraine, to fly on to Canada.

The shootdown happened the same day Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general. While Guard officials publicly apologized for the incident, the hesitancy of Iran to elaborate on what happened shows the power the force wields.

Following the release of Iran’s final investigative report, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba lambasted the findings as a “cynical attempt to hide the true causes of the downing of our passenger aircraft.” He accused Iran of conducting a “biased” probe into the disaster that resulted in “deceptive” conclusions.

Canada’s foreign and transport ministers similarly criticized the report, saying that it “has no hard facts or evidence” and “makes no attempt to answer critical questions about what truly happened.”

The announcement of charges came just hours before Iran and the five world powers remaining in its atomic accord meet in Vienna, where the U.S. is due to start indirect talks with Tehran.

READ MORE: Iran’s report on shootdown of Flight 752 doesn’t explain why it happened: TSB

— With files from The Associated Press

Maan Alhmidi and Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Flight 752 crash in Iran

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A photograph of the real firearm beside the replica firearm seized by VicPD in the early hours of April 18. (Courtesy VicPD)
Police seize loaded firearm, drugs during traffic stop in Victoria

Officers find cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl along with loaded handgun

Sidney council approved a broad package of tax relief measures, but concerns about its timing and effectiveness remain. (Black Press Media File).
President of cannabis company considers legal action against Sidney

Sidney already lost one legal action by another cannabis retailer in summer 2020

Colwood restaurants can use city property for patios. (Black Press Media file photo)
Temporary patios back on for Colwood restaurants

Council voted to extend temporary permits to 2022

Sidney Volunteer Fire Department as well as Sidney/North Saanich RCMP and BC Ambulance responded to a dryer fire on Orchard Avenue. (Sidney Volunteer Fire Department/Twitter)
Dryer fire doused in Sidney

Cause of Monday afternoon remains under investigation

(Black Press Media file photo)
Woman returned to West Shore on warrant after crashing in Oak Bay

Smashed car windows, stolen outboard, missing diamond round out police briefs

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read