Teheran challenges suggestion Iran missile downed Ukraine jet

Security personnel work at the scene of the crash near Teheran. PHOTO: AP

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran, alluding to "doubtful scenarios", on Thursday (Jan 9) challenged international suggestions that the Ukrainian airliner that crashed outside Teheran this week was mistakenly downed by an Iranian missile.

The Iranian government, in a statement, urged Canada to share its information after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "multiple" intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down the Boeing airliner after it took off from Teheran on Wednesday, killing all 176 on board, including 63 Canadians.

Iran's foreign ministry also invited the US planemaker Boeing to "participate" in its inquiry into the crash.

Canada's theory was swiftly backed up by other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said mounting evidence supported an Iranian missile strike, which "may well have been unintentional".

US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believe the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Teheran.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 went down just minutes after take-off from Imam Khomeini airport in the dark early on Wednesday, after Teheran launched ballistic missiles at American military targets in Iraq in retaliation for the Jan 3 US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.

Teheran said it was prepared to allow experts from the countries who lost people in the crash to help with the inquiry.

The ill-fated plane was carrying 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Britons, as well as the 63 Canadians.

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