Four days after Iran shot down a Ukranian jet, it has released a helpline number to assist the families of the victims. 176 people in the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752 were killed as Iran shot down the jet on January 8, amid escalating tensions with the US and later claimed that it was 'unintentional.' Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, in a tweet, described it as a 24/7 hotline and a 'practical measure.'
This comes after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, in a strongly-worded statement, added that Iran has to prosecute those responsible for the action, return the bodies of the deads and will have to pay compensation.
As part of practical measures to assist families of victims of #PS752 tragic disaster, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up a hotline. It is manned 24/7.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 12, 2020
Number: +98 21 61153009
Embassies have also been instructed to facilitate assistance to families/friends of victims.
A Ukrainian aircraft with at least 176 people aboard crashed on January 8 just after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport, according to Iranian media reports. All 176 passengers on board the PS752 airliner had died. The incident occurred amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran after US airstrike killed Iran's second most important person - commander of Quds Force of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qasem Soleimani. While Iran vowed to take "revenge" and shot a missile at US airbase in Iraq, US President Donald said that Iran and the US can work together for world peace, pointing ISIS as a common enemy.
In a massive admission on Saturday, Iran accepted that the Ukranian jet shot down on January 8 was done by mistake. Issuing a statement, Iran's military on state television said that the incident happened due to "human error." Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, taking to Twitter, has said that it is an "unforgivable mistake." He also said that "investigation on this great tragedy continues."
At a news briefing on January 10, international reports quoted Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) chief Ali Abedzadeh who maintained that missile was not the cause of the crash. "The thing that is clear to us and that we can say with certainty is that this plane was not hit by a missile," he had told reporters. "As I said last night, this plane for more than one and a half minutes was on fire and was in the air and the location shows that the pilot was attempting to return." On Friday, government spokesman Ali Rabiei described the reports of a missile strike as "psychological warfare".
After the Ukrainian jet was shot on January 8, US President Donald Trump had said that he had "suspicions" about what happened to the plane. In a press briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had that the United States believes it is "likely" that Iran shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane.
"We do believe that it's likely that that plane was shot down by an Iranian missile. We are -- we're gonna let the investigation play out before we make a final determination. It's important that we get to the bottom of it," Pompeo had said in a White House news briefing.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, issuing a statement had said that he had received intelligence from multiple sources indicating that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. He added that it was possible that this was unintentional. "This reinforces the need for a thorough investigation," he said. "Canadians have questions and they deserve answers." But he said it was too early to apportion blame or draw any conclusions, and refused to go into detail about the evidence.