WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on Iran-related developments.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country lost at least 63 citizens in the downing of a jet on takeoff from Tehran, says intelligence sources indicate the plane was shot down.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” Trudeau said during a press conference Thursday in Toronto.
Ukraine’s president is calling on other countries to provide any information they have about the fatal crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s statement, reported Thursday on his office’s Facebook page, came after U.S. officials said it was “highly likely” that the plane was downed by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile.
Zelenskiy’s statement did not address the U.S. claim directly. It said “we turn to the international partners of Ukraine: if there is evidence that will help the investigation, please provide it.”
Ukraine’s leader says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has assured him of full cooperation in investigating the fatal crash of a Ukrainian airliner near the Iranian capital and that Iran would provide experts access to all data.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke with Rouhani by telephone on Thursday.
A statement on the Ukrainian presidential website says: “The Iranian party assured full cooperation with a view to holding an objective investigation and finding out the causes of the tragedy. Hassan Rouhani stressed that Iran would provide the Ukrainian expert group with prompt access to all the necessary data.”
The British government says it is investigating “very concerning” reports about the crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran, amid speculation that the plane may have been hit by a missile.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office says “the reports we have seen are very concerning and we are urgently looking into them.”
The Ukrainian International Airlines plane crashed Wednesday soon after takeoff from Tehran’s airport, killing all 176 people on board. Ukrainian officials say they have several working theories, including a missile strike.
Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday and called for “a full, credible and transparent investigation into what happened,” Downing Street said.
France’s military spokesman says that its fighter jets are continuing to make sorties over Iraq and Syria despite the international coalition’s suspension in activities.
Col. Frederic Barbry said on Thursday that France’s Rafales, based in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, made 14 sorties this week. Their main job is support, reconnaissance and protection for ground forces.
Like other coalition members, activities of France’s 200 troops in Iraq are currently suspended due to soaring tensions, with their movements “significantly limited.”
France alone has trained nearly 27,000 Iraqi soldiers over time. Barbry couldn’t say how long the suspension might last, but he stressed that France “is not withdrawing its soldiers from Iraq” and its priority remains the fight against the Islamic State group.
Canada’s foreign minister held a rare telephone conversation with Iran’s foreign minister to stress Canada’s desire to be a part of the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian jetliner that killed at least 63 Canadians.
A readout of the call released by Ottawa on Thursday said Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchanged condolences and that Champagne emphasized that Canada wants to be part of the investigation.
He says Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered. There was no indication Iran agreed to allow Canada to take part in the investigation.
Allowing that might prove difficult as Canada closed its embassy in Iran in 2012, expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada and suspended all diplomatic relations.
Champagne also condemned Iranian strikes on bases in Iraq where U.S.-led Coalition forces, including Canadians, are stationed.
Italy and other allies with a diplomatic presence in Iran are helping Canada with consular assistance for friends and families of the Canadian victims.
The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over it killing an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general in a drone strike last week.