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Iran denies shooting down Ukrainian plane, calls for evidence

Iran on Friday denied allegations from the West that one of its own missiles unintentionally downed a Ukrainian jetliner, in which all 176 people on board were killed.

The country has called on both the United States and Canada to share their findings after officials from those two nations on Thursday said they thought Iran accidentally shot down the aircraft, The Associated Press reports.

Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s national aviation department, said at a press conference: "We can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane."

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“If they are really sure, they should come and show their findings to the world,” he continued, adding that this kind of information-sharing is international best practice.

The head of Iran's investigation team, Hassan Rezaeifar, has said that recovering the data from the plane's black box could take more than a month and that the investigation itself could last up to two years, the AP reports.

The Kyiv-bound plane — a Boeing 737-800 — went down outside of Tehran after taking off Tuesday from Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Shortly before, Iran had launched retaliatory missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. troops.

That strike was in response to a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad last week that killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. The Iranian response resulted in no American casualties, leading many to hope that raised tensions between the U.S. and Iran would at least partially cool down.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauTrudeau: Canada preparing for potential 'disruptions' after US election Trump's COVID 'October surprise' might make him a better candidate — and person 'Get well' messages pour in from foreign capitals after Trump positive coronavirus test MORE, who lost at least 63 citizens in the plane crash, said, “The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “the missile theory is not ruled out, but it has not been confirmed yet.”

According to Iran's state-run news agency, the country will allow Ukraine and Boeing to investigate the crash in-country.