Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has come out as the first world leader to directly accuse Iran of the “unintentional” shooting down of Ukrainian International Airlines’ flight 752 near Tehran, citing intelligence reports.
“We have intelligence from multiple sources,” Trudeau said on Thursday. “The intelligence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional.”
Trudeau also said it was “too soon to be apportioning blame” for the crash or “drawing any conclusions,” however.
His comments echo those of US President Donald Trump, who said earlier in the day he had “suspicions” that “somebody could have made a mistake,” without elaborating.
US media outlets have been citing anonymous officials as saying that the Boeing 737 was “highly likely” brought down by Iranian air defenses early on Wednesday.
Iranian civil aviation authorities, however, have ruled out the theory, saying no missile debris was found at the crash site.
“Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumours are illogical,” Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s of Civil Aviation Organization, said on Thursday, was quoted by the news agency ISNA.
UIAi flight 752 crashed within minutes of departing Tehran, just hours after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired two volleys of missiles at US targets inside Iraq, as reprisal for last week’s assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. All 176 people on board were killed, including 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians.