WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th June, 2021) Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra blasted Iran for the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 and its lack of transparency during the subsequent investigation, Transport Canada said on Friday following an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meeting.
"The Minister reiterated Canada's long-standing position on the downing of Flight PS752 and condemned Iran, in the strongest terms, for its actions that led to the tragedy and its handling of the aftermath, including its failure to provide answers," Transport Canada said in a statement.
Canada will work to strengthen international aviation rules, addressing the gaps uncovered by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization's investigation of the crash, Alghabra added, including through its Safer Skies Strategy, which focuses on civil aviation safety in conflict zones.
According to the statement, the minister also weighed in on the Ryanair flight diversion to Belarus, saying that the "global community must remain vigilant in order to protect the safety and security of civil aviation."
Flight PS752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran's international airport on January 8, 2020, after being shot down by the Iranian military. The incident claimed the lives of all 167 passengers on board the airplane - mostly Canadian and Iranian citizens - and nine Ukrainian crew members.
Tehran has admitted that its missile brought down the passenger jet, howeverrejects allegations that the strike was premeditated. The Iranian military maintains it was on high alert at the time of the accident, which happened hours after it fired missiles at two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for a drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
Despite Iran's Civil Aviation Organization concluding last month that PS752 was brought down inadvertently, a Canadian court ruled last month that Iran had deliberately downed the Ukrainian airliner - deeming the incident an act of terrorism under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Legal analysts told Sputnik that Canadian Justice Edward Belobaba's ruling is "contradictory" as it fails to account for the fact that most of the passengers were either Iranian nationals or dual citizens.