Following the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737NG, Iranian authorities are deciding what to do with the black boxes from the downed plane. While there are three options (reading them in Iran or sending over to either Ukraine or France), reports on which one might prevail change daily. The latest news indicates that the flight recorders might stay in Iran if local investigators manage to find a way to read them.

Hassan Reizafar, an official from the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), said on January 19, 2020, that the organization had no plans to send the black boxes to Ukraine.

“We are trying to read the black boxes of the Ukrainian plane in Iran and our next options are Ukraine and France,” Reizafar revealed. Yet the organization has no concrete plans to send them abroad for now.

On January 18, 2020, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Reizafar saying that CAO “did everything that it could,” but since the downed aircraft was “modern”, the country’s officials have no means of examining the data on the flight recorders. He reportedly reiterated that the black boxes should be sent to the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the French air accident investigation agency.

On the same day, Tasmin, another Iranian news agency, reported that the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) would be sent to Kyiv, Ukraine, where an international team of investigators could examine both recorders in order to conclude the investigation into the accident that claimed the lives of 176 people: nine crew members and 167 passengers.

On January 16, 2020, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko publicly stated that he spoke with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. One of the pressing topics was Ukraine’s involvement in the investigation and “in particular – access to the black boxes,” Prystaiko said.

“Our demands remain unchanged.”

Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down on January 8, 2020. While Iran initially claimed it to be a “technical problem”, the country’s officials, including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, eventually admitted that the Ukraine-registered Boeing 737-800 was shot down by the Iranian military.

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After three days of denial, the Iranian authorities eventually admitted that the crash of the flight PS752 was due to a mistake from the country’s military. Their responsibility in the death of 176 people, including 82 Iranians, sparked a wave of protests in Tehran.