LONDON (Reuters) - Five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down an airliner last week said on Thursday that Tehran should pay compensation to families of the victims, and warned that the world is watching for its response.
Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain said Iran should hold a “thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations,” in a statement issued after a meeting of officials in London.
The airliner was struck by a missile on Jan. 8 shortly after it left Tehran en route to Kiev. Iran admitted on Saturday it had shot down a Ukraine International Airlines plane in error, after initially denying it had a role in the incident. All 176 people aboard, including 57 Canadians, were killed.
The five countries asked Iran to conduct the process of identifying victims with dignity and transparency while respecting the wishes of families regarding repatriation.
“The eyes of the international community are on Iran today. I think that Iran has a choice, and the world is watching,” Canadian foreign minister Francois-Philippe said at a news conference in London.
The countries said they welcomed Iran’s engagement to date.
Most of those on Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 were Iranians or dual citizens, many of them students returning to their studies abroad or families on their way home after seeing relatives in Iran. Many of the victims were academics, researchers and students linked to 19 Canadian universities.
Reporting by Alistair Smout and Pari Zemaryalai, writing by Andy Bruce; editing by Stephen Addison