The back-and-forth negotiations between Ukraine and Iran continue regarding the compensation of relatives of the victims that were killed in the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 by the Iranian military. Both sides expressed their readiness to hold the second round of talks.
On September 9, 2020, Touraj Dehqani Zangeneh, Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, said his country was ready to negotiate further with the Ukrainian authorities to pay compensation in the PS752 case. “What is evident is that Iran has accepted the responsibility for its mistake and therefore the country is ready for negotiations on paying full compensation for what is had done,” Dehqani Zangeneh said, according to local news agency IRNA.
Shortly after, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin reacted positively, as reported by Ukrinform. The Ministry accepted the dates offered by Iran, for the talks to be held between October 18 and 21, 2020.
The first round of negotiations in late July 2020 seemingly turned sour after Iran refused to compensate Ukrainian International Airlines for the loss of the aircraft. “The Ukrainian plane is insured by European companies in Ukraine and not by Iranian companies, therefore the compensation should be paid by those European companies,” the head of Iran’s Central Insurance Organization Gholamrez Soleimani said at the time.
On January 8, 2020, Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran International Airport, Iran, killing the 176 people on board. After a few days of denial, the Iranian authorities eventually admitted that the aircraft was shot down. An operator of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), stationed in Bid Kaneh, allegedly mistook the commercial flight for a cruise missile and fired two missiles from a Tor-M1 surface-to-air system.
In an interim report published on July 13, 2020, the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran claimed a “human error” in setting up radar was the main cause that led the Flight PS752 to be shot down by the air defense system of Tehran. Such a conclusion would put most of the blame on the operators of the weapon system while ruling out any responsibility in the chain of command.
But Ukraine and Canada (which lost 55 citizens in the crash) expressed doubts that such a conclusion could be made so early in the investigation process. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne declared “there is no circumstance under which a civilian aircraft can be downed just by the result of human error in this day and age.”
On July 23, 2020, the preliminary analysis of the data extracted from the two recorders of the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 confirmed an “illegal interference with the plane”. The work was carried out in Paris by the Iranian Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) with the assistance of the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA).