After months of dithering, Iran sent to France the flight recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 which was accidentally shot down shortly after taking off from Tehran in January 2020. Data extraction by the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) is about to begin.

Work should finally begin on July 20, 2020, to better understand what happened on that tragic day of January 8, 2020. A technical cooperation agreement between the BEA and the Accident Investigation Bureau of the Islamic Republic of Iran (AAIB) was signed earlier in July 2020. The data extraction will be carried out in the presence of Ukraine International Airlines, Boeing, Safran, as well as other foreign aviation regulators representing the various nationalities of the 176 victims.

In a preliminary report released on July 11, 2020, the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran identified four “contributing links in the chain of events” that led to the tragic fate of the passenger flight, in a context of high military tension with the United States. 

The main cause appeared to have been the incorrect setting of one of the missile systems that showed an erroneous flight path to its operator. Because of that human mistake, the path of Flight PS752 was shown as heading straight for Tehran, instead of away from the city. Consequently, two missiles were shot at the aircraft, killing the 176 people on board.

In an interim report, the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran believes a “human error” in setting up a radar was the main cause that led the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 to be shot down by the air defense system of Tehran.

The arrival of the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) on July 18, 2020, at the BEA headquarters near Paris–Le Bourget Airport (LBG) put an end to six months of diplomatic stalling.