Iran dismissed as "immature" a statement by a UN investigator that inconsistencies in its explanation of the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane last January raised questions over whether the act was intentional, Iranian media reported on Thursday.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said on Tuesday she had found no concrete evidence the plane was targeted intentionally but that Iran had not proven it was accidental, Reuters reports.
After denying blame for three days, Iran's Guards said they had shot it down by mistake while under high alert for a possible attack. Hours earlier it had attacked U.S. targets in Iraq in retaliation for Washington's killing of Iran's top general five days before.
Spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said Callamard's "sphere of activity has nothing to do with these regulations and frameworks. Rather, her unwarranted involvement might not have a constructive impact on the legal procedures as well."
Callamard, who carried out a six-month investigation into the case under her global mandate, said on Tuesday that Iran had not replied to her detailed queries. She is stepping down from the independent post at the end of March, a year early in the six-year term, to take another job, officials said.
Read also PS752 downing: Iran violated multiple human rights obligations, UN experts say Khatibzadeh accused her of rushing out her statement.
"Maybe one of the reasons of this unwarranted haste is her resignation from her post as special rapporteur, and by issuing an immature and impetuous text ... she may have been promised a new job positions," Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.
"Accordingly, some charges have been levelled against the Islamic Republic of Iran without any valid evidence and documents."
In December, Khatibzadeh said an indictment would be issued in less than a month against "those whose negligence caused the accident". But Iran's military court, which is handling the case, has yet to publicly announce it.
PS752 downing: Background
On January 8, 2020, Kyiv-bound Boeing 737 passenger jet flight PS752, operated by Ukraine International Airlines, crashed in Iran shortly after takeoff from Tehran Airport.
All 176 people on board, including 11 Ukrainian nationals – nine crew and two passengers – were killed. Among victims are also citizens of Iran, Canada, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the UK.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted that the Ukrainian liner had been shot down as a result of an unintentional "human error," and promised to bring those responsible to justice.
On June 9, media reports said Iran had accused six persons in the PS752 downing case.
On July 20, the flight recorders were delivered to Paris and decrypted on July 21.
On July 24, it was reported that data from the black boxes had confirmed external interference with the aircraft's operation.
On October 23, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin said Iran would pay compensation to the relatives of victims of the UIA flight PS752 crash, but the process might last up to two years.
On December 9, however, Yenin said that Iran had withdrawn the offer to handle the payments to the families of those killed in the UIA plane crash.
In the middle of December, Canada expressed its position on the Iranian investigation into the downing of the Ukrainian plane, saying it is not credible.
On December 22, the Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that Iranian investigators, during a video conference, had provided representatives of other countries whose citizens were victims of the crash with a technical report on the UIA downing.
On December 23, Yenin said Ukraine had not received the report.
On December 24, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed concern that Iran was delaying the negotiation process on the case of the downed Ukraine International Airlines plane. He noted that Ukraine had not received a technical report from Iran on the plane downed almost a year ago.
On December 30, Iranian cabinet members reportedly agreed at a session to allocate US$150,000 or its equivalent in euros to each family of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash in January 2020.
On January 7, 2021, Rouhani said all those responsible for the downing of the plane would be brought to justice.
The Canadian government and security agencies are reviewing an audio recording in which a man – identified by sources as Iran's foreign affairs minister – discusses the possibility that the destruction of Flight PS752 was an intentional act.
On Iranian Military Prosecutor's Office has completed a pre-trial investigation into the incident, Iranian media reported February 21.
Reporting by UNIAN