Iran's civil aviation chief Ali Abedzadeh said on January 10 that he is 'certain' that 'missile did not strike' the Ukrainian jetliner which crashed shortly after take-off in Iran. Boeing 737-700 crashed on January 8 killing 176 people on the same day Iran had fired multiple missiles on Iraqi military bases housing US troops. Reportedly, Abedzadeh told the reporters in Tehran that 'one thing is for certain, the aeroplane was not hit by a missile'. According to the Iranian official, ' "any remarks made before the data is extracted is not an expert opinion'.
However, American, Canadian, and British officials have said that their intelligence sources indicate that it is 'highly likely' that Iran shot down the jetliner after being 'mistakenly identified' as a threat. Ukrainian President posted on Facebook that 'the version of a missile is not ruled out, but it has not yet been confirmed'. Abedzadeh also said that the jet might have crashed due to a 'technical fault' in the black boxes and acknowledged that he might require help from outside the country to decode them.
According to the Iranian official, 'the information in the black boxes is crucial' for the aviation organisation to make a statement. The authorities found two black boxes of the crashed Ukraine International Airlines aircraft on Wednesday, it was revealed that the black boxes would not be handed over to the manufacturer Boeing. A detailed examination of the black box data can help reveal the cause of the plane crash.
While dismissing all allegations that Iran identified the Boeing jetliner as a threat and targetted a missile were put at rest by Abedzadeh but added that black box of the plane is 'damaged'. The decoding of the data will begin on January 11 and in case the equipment Iran has failed to get the content, they will outsource the information to 'France or Canada'. The country's aviation chief reassured that 'whatever is the result', it will be publicised to the world.
Just recently, Iran also invited Boeing and Ukraine to the investigation into the plane crash while US also joined. An Iranian agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying that Iran 'has invited both Ukraine and the Boeing company to participate in the investigations'. The spokesperson, Abbas Mousavi, also said it will also welcome experts from other countries’ whose citizens died in the crash.
This comes after Iran had initially said that it would not allow Boeing to take part in the probe and went against the international norms on crash investigations. Under the rules by United Nations aviation organisation, the United States is entitled to participate in the probe as Boeing jetliner was designed and built in the US. However, there have been no immediate comments from Boeing. The US National Transportation Safety Board said on January 9 that it will join the probe into Ukrainian Boeing airliner crash in Iran. NTSB said that it had received a 'formal notification' from the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of the Civil Aviation Organisation of Iran.