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Iran compensation plan for downed plane slammed by Kiev

Iran has said its forces mistakenly shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 December, 2020

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Kiev said the compensation amount should be the subject of negotiations

Iran's announcement on Wednesday that it will pay $150,000 to each family of those killed in the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane was promptly slammed by Kiev as "unacceptable".

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people aboard.

The Islamic republic admitted three days later that its forces mistakenly shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 plane after firing two missiles, amid heightened US-Iran tensions.

"The cabinet approved the provision of $150,000, or the equivalent in euros... for the families and survivors of each of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash as soon as possible," Iran's presidency said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

"This compensation does not prevent the prosecution of the criminal element of the case before the competent judicial authority," the statement added.

But Kiev said the compensation amount should be the subject of negotiations, stressing the need for "establishing the causes of the tragedy and bringing those responsible to justice".

Ukraine's foreign ministry said it was still waiting for Iran to give it "a draft technical report" on the circumstances of the downing of the aircraft as part of agreements it has failed to fulfil.

"This situation is especially unacceptable since we are talking about the fate of innocent people," ministry spokesman Oleg Nykolenko told AFP.

Many of those killed in the air disaster were Iranians and Canadians, with 85 Canadian citizens or permanent residents, some dual nationals.

Iran's civil aviation authority has said the misalignment of an air defence unit's radar system was the key "human error" that led to the plane's downing.

Tehran's air defences had been on high alert at the time in case the US retaliated against Iranian strikes hours earlier on American troops stationed in Iraq, which in turn had been in response to the US assassination of Iran's top commander, General Qasem Soleimani.

Ukraine's foreign minister said in July that he hoped to obtain as much financial compensation as possible in order to alleviate "the pain and mourning" of the relatives of the victims.

A Ukrainian delegation visited Tehran in October for talks on possible financial compensation.

Read also: US bomber mission over Gulf aimed at cautioning Iran

Iran's foreign affairs ministry then indicated the negotiations had focused in particular on "compensation for families and the airline".

On Wednesday, Mohammad Eslami, Iran's transport minister, said the final crash report would be "soon" made public, including a version in English.

"The owner of the plane, Ukraine, and Boeing were present for the investigation," Eslami said, according to IRNA.

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