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Venediktova: Ukraine again requests Iran to provide UIA plane downing files.

The Prosecutor General's Office again requested Iran to provide the files into the downing of the UIA plane near Tehran in January 2020.

As Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova posted on Facebook, "in 2.5 months, we will mark the second anniversary of the downing of Ukrainian plane near Tehran, which killed 176 people. Two of them were the wife and 9-year-old daughter of Hamed Esmaeilion, President of the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, Canadian citizen of Iranian descent. He and Assistant to Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine Mavourneen Mooney paid a visit to the Prosecutor General's Office."

As Venediktova noted, Ukraine conducts a pre-trial investigation "under conditions of extraterritoriality, without access to aircraft wreckage, key witnesses and suspects. Unfortunately, the affected countries refused to set up a joint investigation team to facilitate and expedite the pre-trial investigation. However, Canada is our biggest partner in this case and contributes in every way to establishing the truth," the Prosecutor General said.

Read also: UIA plane crash: Ukraine, Canada will jointly demand justice from Iran

According to Venediktova, "one of the tools we are actively resorting to during the investigation is requests for international legal assistance. We have already sent 24 such requests. At the same time, the period for their implementation is too protracted amid the global pandemic. The Iranian side has not yet provided full answers to Ukraine's requests for international legal assistance, and the last one was left unanswered."

As noted, "Iran has its own qualification of the event and its own case, the files of which are unavailable to us. This year, Iran announced it had submitted the case against 10 suspects to court, but the information about them is carefully concealed. During the Ukraine–Iran talks, we have heard proposals from the Iranian side on possible forms of cooperation, which have remained promises."

According to Venediktova, following the third round of talks held in early June 2021 in Kyiv, the Ukrainian side agreed to the Iranian offer to get acquainted with the files of the criminal case in the Iranian courts and the possibility for Ukrainian representatives to be present during the trial in Iran without the right to interfere.

Read also: Deputy FM Yenin: Iran won’t avoid paying compensation for downed UIA plane

Immediately after the talks, the Prosecutor General's Office sent a letter to agree on all procedures, but no response has been received from the competent authorities of Iran for four months, she stressed.

"Iran’s announcement about submission of the case to court, following the investigation closed to the affected countries, and the failure to provide access to files for Ukrainian prosecutors, indicates a violation of international obligations," Venediktova said.

She said that in October, the Prosecutor General's Office again appealed to the competent authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, seeking to obtain answers and get acquainted with the files of the Iranian case.

"At the end of our meeting, Hamed Esmaeilion, President of the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims said that 22 months without relatives were months of pain and suffering, tears and hope for justice. Together we must do everything possible to achieve justice in this case," Venediktova added.

Read also: UIA plane crash: Canada ready to reach International Court of Justice in the Hague

On January 8, 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines plane (Flight PS752) heading from Tehran to Kyiv crashed shortly after taking off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport. There were 176 people on board – nine crew members (all Ukrainians) and 167 passengers (citizens of Ukraine, Iran, Canada, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the UK). All of them died.

On January 11, Iran admitted that its military had accidentally shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) accepted full responsibility for the downing of the Ukrainian airliner.

Ukraine and Canada agreed to work closely together to obtain appropriate compensation from Iran for the relatives of the victims.

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