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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BRUSSELS — The European Union on Friday demanded an "independent and credible" probe into the crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran which killed all 176 people on board.
Britain and Canada — which lost 63 of its citizens in the disaster — said there was intelligence to suggest that Iranian air defenses mistakenly shot down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 with a missile. Tehran has denied the claim.
The EU said that, so far, there was "no conclusive evidence of what caused the incident", which killed 10 Swedes, three Germans and three Britons.
"It is very important for us that the investigation that takes place happens through an independent and credible civil safety investigation conducted in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization rules," European Commission spokesman Stefan de Keersmaecker told reporters.
The EU is ready to give "any necessary assistance" to the probe, he added, but declined to answer directly when asked whether the bloc trusted Iran to carry out an independent investigation.
The disaster unfolded just hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles towards bases in Iraq housing US troops in retaliation for the January 3 US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.
Iran says Canadian team
en route over plane crash
A delegation from Canada is heading to Iran to help probe the crash of a Ukrainian airliner that killed all 176 people onboard, including Iranian-Canadian dual nationals, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Friday.
"Based on the coordination between Iran and Canada's foreign ministries, a 10-person Canadian delegation is en route to Iran," the ministry said in a statement.
The team will "handle the affairs of the Canadian victims" who died in the crash.
The Boeing 737 crashed early Wednesday shortly after Tehran launched missiles at US forces in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
Canadian and British authorities have alleged an Iranian missile downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, charges Tehran strongly denied on Friday.
The crash is Iran's worst civil aviation disaster since 1988 when the US military said it had shot down an Iran Air plane over the Gulf by mistake, killing all 290 people on board.
Iran and Canada have not had formal diplomatic relations since 2012.
The results of the investigation currently ongoing with "Ukraine, Boeing representatives and monitoring experts" from the countries involved will be "transparently" publicized after its finalization, the statement added. — AFP
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