Canada, Iran foreign ministers to meet on Friday

Canada, Iran foreign ministers to meet on Friday to discuss plane downing
2 min read
17 January, 2020
More than 50 Canadian citizens were among the 176 people killed last week when Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet.
Canada broke off diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012 [Getty]
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet with his Canadian counterpart Francois-Philippe Champagne on Friday to discuss Tehran's accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane last week.

All 176 people, including 57 Canadians, on board the plane were killed after the Iranian military mistakenly shot it down. 

The two foreign ministers will meet in the Omani capital Muscat, Champagne's spokesman Adam Austen said according to Reuters.

It will mark the third time since Champagne and Zarif have spoken since the disaster, despite Canada having cut off relations with Iran in 2012.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has placed partial blame on the US for the victims' deaths.

"I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right home with their families," he said earlier this week.

Trudeau has repeatedly urged a "full and complete investigation" from the Iranian authorities. "We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred. Iran must take full responsibility," he said last week.

Iranian authorities say a missile operator mistook the jet for a cruise missile. It took off from Tehran's airport just hours after Iran fired a volley of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq hosting US forces in retaliation for the killing of one of its top generals.

Canada was among five countries with citizens who died in the disaster which met in London on Thursday and called on Tehran to pay compensation to the victims' families.

"Families want answers, the international community wants answers, the world is waiting for answers and we will not rest until we get them," Champagne said.

Officials from Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, Britain alongside Canada said that the world was watching for Iran's response.

They also called for Iran to hold a "thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations".

In response to statements made by the five countries in London, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman on Friday urged countries to avoid turning the accident into a "political issue".

"We request all sides not to make human issues, particularly this tragic accident, into an excuse for political gestures," Abbas Mousavi said.

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