UPDATE 1/10: Iran has welcomed all countries who lost citizens in the crash, including Boeing representatives, to take part in the investigation. Iranian officials have also invited the US National Transportation Safety Board to send investigators.
“All these reports are a psychological warfare against Iran,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Thursday. “All those countries whose citizens were aboard the plane can send representatives and we urge Boeing to send its representative to join the process of investigating the black box.”
Iranian officials also said they may need to ask Russia, Canada, France or Ukraine for help extracting information from the voice and flight data recorders.
A Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 plane crashed just two minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board. Thus far, the circumstances surrounding the tragedy have created more questions than answers.
Kiev’s Foreign Ministry issued the following list of deaths:
2 Ukrainians + 9 crew members.
Only two of the passengers were Ukrainian, in addition to nine crew members. Kiev’s Foreign Ministry has issued the following list.
🇮🇷 82 Iranians
🇸🇪 10 Swedes
🇩🇪 3 Germans
🇬🇧 3 British
🇺🇦 2 Ukrainians + 9 crew members.
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) January 8, 2020
The black box has been found and under international law, the investigation into Ukrainian flight PS752 should be held by the country it occurred in, which in this case is Iran.
Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation head says black box will not be returned to Boeing.
"Investigations into plane crashes take place in the country of the crash"
Ukrainian authorities "can be present during investigations". (Mehr news agency) pic.twitter.com/36Uhb9a8id
— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) January 8, 2020
Iran has said it will not provide Boeing with the black box and the United States will not be invited to participate in the investigation. The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority, Ali Abedzadeh, told Ukrainian investigators that they will be “present during investigations.”
“We will not give the black box to the manufacturer [Boeing] or America,” Abedzadeh told Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency. “The cause of the accident will not be discovered or announced until the black box is analyzed,” he said.
Abedzadeh added that the pilot did not communicate problems to air traffic control.
Ukraine’s Tehran embassy initially reported that preliminary information suggested engine failure caused the crash of Ukrainian flight PS752, but later removed its statement and said they are looking at a range of possibilities.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports are released.
“Tonight our plane with a team of experts is going to Iran,” Zelensky wrote, according to CNN. “All of them will be involved in the investigation, identification and repatriation of the bodies of Ukrainians killed in the plane crash.”
Iranian state news initially said the sudden the crash of Ukrainian flight PS752 was caused by engine difficulties. Terrorism and rocket attacks were immediately rules out as possible causes.
Boeing declared it was ready to “assist in any way needed.”
This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed. pic.twitter.com/TsTlyY34Vd
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) January 8, 2020
All Ukrainian flights have been suspended from Iranian airspace starting January 9.