Iranian Red Crescent Society photo

International Expert Team to Support Investigation Into Passenger Plane Crash in Iran

Experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will support the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian Passenger plane in Iran on January 8, following an invitation from the Iranian authorities.

ICAO has appointed senior and expert technical staff who will now serve as advisors and observers with respect to various countries’ interactions and interpretations relevant to Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.  Annex 13 contains the international standards and recommended practices for aircraft accident and incident investigation and includes wreckage inspection.

Iran has admitted that Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 which departed from Tehran was shot down by its armed forces and announced on January 14 that several people have been detained over the incident which, it says, was accidental. All 176 people on board were killed in the crash.

So far, few details of Iran’s investigation have been released by the authorities, but Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said in a televised address that it will be overseen by several experts, and that the judiciary will create a special court. A spokesperson for the country’s judiciary reportedly said in a press conference that the investigation will look into the causes and direct impact of the incident.

The incident took place several hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile strike from home soil on U.S. forces stationed in Iraq, in response to the U.S. drone killing of senior Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Initially, Iran denied responsibility for the crash, reportedly blaming it on a technical failure but eventually admitted – after video footage appeared online – that the operator of a missile defense system had mistaken the plane for a missile and shot it down.

There is conflicting information regarding the person who filmed flight PS752 being struck. Iran says it has arrested the person responsible for the video, citing national security concerns. However, the London-based Iranian journalist, Nariman Gharib, who initially posted the footage insisted on Twitter on January 14 that both he and his source are safe.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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