International

Iran: UN investigator's comments on downing of Ukraine plane 'unwarranted'

Iran on Thursday said it was "unwarranted" for a United Nations investigator this week to point out inconsistencies in Iran's explanation for the 2020 downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane.

Agnes Callamard, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said Tuesday that while she had not found concrete evidence suggesting that the plane was intentionally targeted, Iran also did not provide enough evidence to prove the incident was accidental, Reuters reported.

Callamard also said Iran had not responded to her requests for more detailed information on the incident. 

All 176 people aboard the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 were killed after the airplane crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran to Kiev in January 2020. Most of those on board were Canadian citizens. 

Iran's Revolutionary Guard initially denied involvement in the crash, but days later admitted it had mistakenly shot down the plane while on high alert following then-President Trump's ordered killing of Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani. 

Iran hours before the Ukrainian plane crash had attacked U.S. targets in Iraq in response to Soleimani's death. 

Following Callamard's Tuesday remarks, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the U.N. investigator's "sphere of activity has nothing to do with these regulations and frameworks." 

"Rather, her unwarranted involvement might not have a constructive impact on the legal procedures as well," Khatibzadeh added. 

The spokesman suggested that Callamard, who carried out a six month investigation into the crash and who is stepping down in March a year early in her six year term, issued the statement in exchange for "a new job positions," Reuters reported. 

"Accordingly, some charges have been levelled against the Islamic Republic of Iran without any valid evidence and documents," Khatibzadeh said. 

While Reuters reported that the spokesman late last year said Iran's military court would soon issue an indictment against "those whose negligence caused the accident," such a move has yet to come.

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