| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Iran says begins paying families over downed Ukraine jet

Authorities confirmed on Friday that Iran has begun paying compensation to the relatives of those murdered when it shot down a Ukrainian airplane two years ago.

“Transfers to a limited number of (victims’) relatives have been made,” the foreign ministry stated in a statement commemorating the tragedy’s anniversary.

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 passengers on board, the majority of them were Iranians and Canadians, including several dual nationalities.

Three days later, Iran’s armed forces acknowledged to shooting down the Kyiv-bound jet “by accident.”

According to Arash Khodaei, deputy president of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, “the sum of $150,000 has been given” to certain families, and “the procedure has begun” for others.

According to official news agency IRNA, the payment “does not impinge upon (their) right to pursue legal action.”

In 2020, Iran gave each victim’s family “$150,000 or the equivalent in euros.”

Ukrainian and Canadian authorities were outraged by the statement, claiming that compensation should not be decided by unilateral announcements.

In a ruling made public on Monday, a Canadian court awarded more than $80 million in compensation to the relatives of six of the victims.

Although it was unclear how the money would be recovered, Ontario Superior Court Judge Edward Belobaba stated that “some level” of enforcement may be conceivable.

In November, Iran’s court announced that a trial for ten military personnel involved in the downing of the plane had begun in Tehran.

At the time of the event, tensions between Iran and the United States were at an all-time high.

Iranian air defenses were on high alert for a US strike after Tehran fired missiles at a US military station in Iraq.

These missiles were launched in retaliation for the death of General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport. Soleimani was the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ external operations branch.

The second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing has been marked by commemorations in Tehran and its Middle Eastern allies throughout the last week.

  • AFP