Iran FM, Canadian PM Meet in Munich

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, in the German city of Munich.

The meeting was held on Friday on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference.

Following the meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, Zarif also met his Canadian counterpart François-Philippe Champagne.

The talks between Iran and Canada come a few weeks after the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane in Tehran, which killed all the 176 on board, including dozens of Iranian-Canadian citizens.

Following the tragic incident, Ottawa has been in touch with Tehran despite the Canadian government’s decision to sever ties with Iran in 2012.

Canada and Iran have had no formal diplomatic relations since then. Canadian consular and passport services are provided through other Canadian diplomatic missions in other countries in the Middle East while Iran maintains an interests section at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, D.C.

The government headed by PM Trudeau which took office in 2015, has reportedly been reviewing relations with Iran and, like most countries, lifted most of its economic sanctions following the Iran nuclear agreement in July 2015. But Donald Trump’s re-imposition of Iran sanctions in 2018 has once again reduced the chances for a thaw in relations.

Husband of Iran plane crash victim seeks answers, justice from investigation

The husband of one of the victims who died when a Ukrainian jetliner was shot down by the Iranian military last month wants the people he says ordered his wife’s death to be charged and tried at the International Criminal Court.

Hassan Shadkhoo has been barely able to sleep since his wife, Sheyda, was killed along with 175 others when her plane crashed minutes after take off from Tehran on Jan. 8. Several days later, Iran admitted its military mistook the passenger jet for hostile aircraft amid tensions with the United States.

Sheyda Shadkhoo was 41 when she died, returning to Canada after visiting her mother in Iran. She worked as a chemist at a firm in Markham, Ont., that tests products to ensure they meet government standards.

Hassan Shadkhoo spent two weeks in Iran after the crash, where he buried his wife next to her father at her family’s request. He was already at the airport in Istanbul on when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada had intelligence the plane was brought down by a missile.

Shadkhoo began sobbing as he heard and immediately said it was not an accident, something he still believes today.

He said he had no nerves flying in and out of the same airport because dying was not one of his concerns.

“At this point I have nothing to lose,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press, shortly after he returned to Canada.

He does have a lot of questions and a lot of anger.

He said he wants it made clear he is speaking out on his own behalf, not “for my beloved Sheyda” or her family, who live in Iran.

Shadkhoo said the Iranian regime is criminal, but he says he puts the full blame for what happened on the United States. He also doesn’t believe anyone in the Iranian military accidentally mistook a civilian plane for anything else.

Shadkhoo said the Canadian government and the Italian embassy in Tehran were very helpful and supportive while he was in Iran. Canada hasn’t had a diplomatic presence in Iran since 2012, and the Italians help Canada provide consular assistance to Canadians there when needed.

But now he wants Trudeau to condemn the crash as an act of terrorism and vow to prosecute those responsible at the International Criminal Court.

“Will the prime minister of Canada vow to do this no matter who the perpetrators are,” he said.

The plane was shot down hours after Iran fired missiles at an Iraqi military base hosting American soldiers, in retaliation for the U.S. decision to kill top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.

Shadkhoo says he wants a thorough investigation into the possibility the plane was targeted deliberately.

The Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 was en route from Tehran to Kyiv, with 57 Canadian citizens on board, along with 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians and others from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Afghanistan. In all 138 of the passengers were to eventually headed to Toronto, many of them students and professors returning following the school break.

Canada has been invited by Iran to participate to some extent in the investigation which thus far is moving very slowly.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau expressed frustration Tuesday that Iran still has not released the black boxes for analysis. The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were damaged in the explosion and Iran doesn’t have the technology needed to get at the valuable data. France does and has offered to help but Iran hasn’t yet done anything about that.

The investigation hit a snag this week when a recording between a pilot and the air traffic control tower at the Tehran airport was leaked to Ukrainian media. The recording clearly has a pilot of another plane that was about to land reporting seeing a missile explosion nearby.

As a result of the leaked information, Iran ended co-operation with Ukraine on the investigation.

Mia Rabson

Two injured after Iran passenger plane lands on runway

An aging Iranian passenger airliner carrying 144 people crash-landed on a runway and skidded onto a major highway next to an airport Monday, the latest crash in the Islamic Republic as U.S. sanctions bar it from parts or new aircraft.

Authorities said two people suffered injuries in the hard landing of the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 flown by Caspian Airlines in Mahshahr, a city in Iran’s oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province.

Passengers, apparently in shock, calmly exited the aircraft with their carry-on baggage out of a door near the cockpit and another over the plane’s wing, video from Iran’s Civil Aviation Network News showed. A flight attendant shouted at passengers to calmly walk away as another crew member joined her on the wing.

Provincial airport director Mohammad Reza Rezanian said all of the passengers had been safely taken off the plane, which had been flying a route from the Iranian capital, Tehran, some 610 kilometers (380 miles) northeast of Mahshahr. The plane carried 136 passengers and eight crew members, authorities said.

It seems that tragedy was narrowly avoided, however, as images from the scene showed the plane had ground to a halt not far from a populated area. The plane also missed traffic on a major highway linking Mahshahr to Imam Khomeini Port.

Iranian state television said the plane involved in Monday’s crash-landing came in harder than usual and lost its landing gear as it hit the tarmac.

The victims of Ukraine Flight PS752

A Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after take-off in Iran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

In total, 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians were on board the Kyiv-bound Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.

There were also 11 victims - including nine crew members - from Ukraine, four Afghans, four Britons and three Germans.

Iran's head of emergency operations said 147 of the victims were Iranian, which suggests many of the foreign nationals held dual nationality.

A list of passengers was released by the airline, but the BBC is awaiting confirmation from people known to the victims.

Canada 'shocked and saddened'

The majority of the passengers on the flight were headed for Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed. Out of the 176 victims, 138 had listed Canada as their final destination.

Of them, 57 of them carried a Canadian passport, but many others were foreign students, permanent residents or visitors.

Initially, the number of Canadian victims was given as 63.

A number of the passengers on board the plane were reportedly students and university staff from Canada returning at the end of the holidays.

The tragedy was a national one, touching many communities across the country.

British Columbia

Ardalan Ebnoddin Hamidi, Niloofar Razzaghi and their teenage son Kamyar, a family of three from Vancouver were returning from Iran where they had taken a short vacation and were confirmed to have been on the flight.

The University of British Columbia said it is mourning the loss of Mehran Abtahi, a postdoctoral research fellow, and sibling alumnus Zeynab Asadi Lari and Mohammad Asadi Lari.

"She was full of dreams, and now they're gone," Elnaz Morshedi told the BBC of her friend Zeynab Asadi Lari, who was studying health sciences.

Her brother Mohammmad was the co-founder of STEM fellowship, a youth-run charity that helps students in maths and sciences.

Other victims from the west coast province include Delaram Dadashnejad, an international student studying nutrition at a college in Vancouver, and couple Naser Pourshaban Oshibi and Firouzeh Madani.

Alberta

The University of Alberta confirmed that 10 members of the institution's community were killed in the tragedy.

Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand, a married couple who taught engineering at the University of Alberta, were killed in the crash, along with their two daughters, Daria, 14, and Dorina, 9.

Arash Pourzarabi, 26,and Pouneh Gourji, 25, were graduate students in computer science at the university, and had gone to Iran for their wedding.

Other students who died included Elnaz Nabiyi, Nasim Rahmanifar, and Amir Saeedinia, as well as alumnus Mohammad Mahdi Elyasi, who studied mechanical engineering and graduated in 2017.

Obstetrician Shekoufeh Choupannejad, her daughter Saba Saadat, who was studying medicine at the university, and Sara, who had recently graduated, were also among those on the flight

The "community is reeling from this loss," said university president David Turpin on Thursday.

Also from the province of Alberta was Kasra Saati, an aircraft mechanic formerly with Viking Air, the CBC confirmed.

Manitoba

Victims from Winnipeg included Forough Khadem, described "as a promising scientist and a dear friend," by her colleague E Eftekharpour.

Graduate student Amirhossein Ghassemi was studying biomedical engineering.

"I can't use past tense. I think he's coming back. We play again. We talk again. It's too difficult to use past tense, too difficult. No one can believe it," his friend Amir Shirzadi told CTV News.

Amirhossein Bahabadi Ghorbani, 21, was studying science at the University of Manitoba and hoped to become a doctor, his roommate told the CBC.

CBC also confirmed that a family of three from that city - Mohammad Mahdi Sadeghi, his wife, Bahareh Hajesfandiari, and their daughter, Anisa Sadeghi, were travelling together on the flight.

Farzaneh Naderi, a customer service manager at Walmart, and her 11-year-old son Noojan Sadr were also killed.

Ontario

Many of the victims were returning to their homes in Toronto and other nearby cities in the province of Ontario.

They included Ghanimat Azhdari - a PhD student at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She specialised in promoting the rights of indigenous groups and her research group described her as "cherished and loved".

Toronto resident Alina Tarbhai was also among the victims, her employer, the Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation (OSSTF), told the BBC. Her mother Afifa Tarbhai was also on board.

The University of Windsor, Ontario, confirmed five people from their school had died on the plane. PhD student Hamid Kokab Setareh and his wife Samira Bashiri, who was also a researcher at the school, were among those killed.

Omid Arsalani told CBC that his sister Evin Arsalani, 30, had travelled to Iran to attend a wedding with her husband, Hiva Molani, 38, and their one-year-old daughter Kurdia. All three were killed in the crash.

The University of Toronto confirmed the loss of students Mojtaba Abbasnezhad, Mohammad Amin Beiruti, and Mohammad Amin Jebelli, and Mohammad Salehe.

Seyed Hossein Mortazavi, a childhood friend of Mohammad Salehe, said he was a bit reserved and shy but a brilliant computer programmer whose talent was widely recognised.

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario confirmed the loss of PhD students Iman Aghabali and Mehdi Eshaghian, as well as of former postdoctoral researcher Siavash Maghsoudlou Estarabadi.

The CBC confirmed that Mahdieh Ghassemi and her two children Arsan Niazi and Arnica Niazi, were on the flight.

Tirgan, an Iranian cultural charity, said "it is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell" to some volunteers with their organisation, including couple Parinaz and Iman Ghaderpanah.

The organisation said it was joining in mourning with another volunteer, Hamed Esmaeilion, who lost his wife Parisa Eghbalian, and their daughter Reera Esmaeilion.

Western University said it was mourning four international students: Ghazal Nourian, Milad Nahavandi, Hadis Hayatdavoudi, Sajedeh Saraeian.

The University of Waterloo shared the news "with heavy hearts" that their community had lost two PhD students Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani.

Quebec

Engineer Siavash Ghafouri-Azar was returning home with his new wife, Sara Mamani, when the plane crashed. The couple had just bought their first home near the Canadian city of Montreal.

His uncle, Reza Ghafouri-Azar, told the BBC "I cannot come up with words for my kind, dedicated nephew."

"He has been a very positive and passionate from childhood until his soul's departure from his body. Rest in peace my dearest side by your beloved wife," he said.

Mr Ghafouri-Azar is a professor of engineering in Toronto, and he introduced his nephew to Ali Dolatabadi, an engineering professor at Concordia University who would become Siavash's thesis supervisor.

"It is a great loss," Mr Dolatabadi told the BBC. "He was very intelligent, a gentleman. He had a kind and a gentle soul." He said his wife Sarah Mamani was "very kind, very polite". The couple were looking forward to throwing a housewarming party in the New Year.

Armin Morattab was worried when his twin Arvin Morattab, called him from the airport in Tehran, amid reports that Iran had fired missiles at US targets in Iraq.

"He said he was coming back home soon," Mr Morattab told the Montreal Gazette.

Arvin Morattab and his wife Aida Farzaneh were both killed.

The Gazette also confirmed that Mohammad Moeini, from Quebec, was also killed.

Nova Scotia

Global News confirmed that five of the victims have ties to Nova Scotia, a province on Canada's east coast.

Dalhousie University student Masoumeh Ghavi, her sister, Mandieh Ghavi, were both killed, as was local dentist Dr. Sharieh Faghihi, and two graduate students at St Mary's University, Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi.

Ali Nafarieh, a professor at Dalhousie and president of the Iranian Cultural Association of Nova Scotia, employed Masoumeh Ghavi part-time at his IT company. He says she was one of the university's "top students".

"I remember she has always a smile on her face. What she brought in our company in addition to skills and knowledge and experience was her energy. She changed the atmosphere over there. We'll miss her a lot," he told CTV News.

Iran victims

We have no information on the 82 Iranian nationals who died.

Tributes to British victims

Four British nationals were among the victims.

Three have been named as Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners in West Sussex, BP engineer Sam Zokaei from Twickenham, and and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi, who lived in Dartford.

Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.

Swedish children feared dead

Ten Swedish nationals died in the crash. Many of them are believed to have also had Iranian citizenship.

Swedish media report that several children were among the victims.

Sweden's foreign ministry confirmed that Swedes were among those killed. It provided no further details.

Ukrainian airline crew

Nine of the 11 Ukrainian nationals killed were staff at Ukraine International Airlines (UIA).

Valeriia Ovcharuk, 28, and Mariia Mykytiuk, 24, were among the flight attendants who died.

On their social media accounts, which are now being filled with tributes, they frequently shared photographs from their travels.

Valeria posted just two weeks ago from a hotel in Bangkok with the caption: "Work, I love you."

Ihor Matkov, was flight PS752's chief attendant. The other three flight attendants were named by the airline as Kateryna Statnik, Yuliia Solohub and Denys Lykhno.

Three pilots were on board at the time of the accident: Captain Volodymyr Gaponenko, First Officer Serhii Khomenko and instructor Oleksiy Naumkin.

All three had between 7,600 and 12,000 hours experience flying a 737 aircraft, according to the airline.

A former UIA pilot said he had flown together with each of the three pilots. Writing on Facebook, Yuri, who wanted to be known only by his first name, described them as "great pilots".

Boeing faces more trouble after crash of a Ukrainian 737 jet in Iran

Another tragic airline crash Wednesday could cause more problems for Boeing.

A three-year old Boeing 737-800 jet operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed soon after takeoff from Tehran's international airport early Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

Iranian aviation authorities have begun an investigation. An early report from Iran's semi-official news agency ISNA blamed some kind of engine failure. But Ukrainian officials say it's too early to determine the cause, and Ukraine's embassy in Iran retracted a statement that also attributed the crash to an engine malfunction.

The 737-800 is not the 737 Max, which has gotten so much attention since two fatal crashes caused the grounding of the jet worldwide in March of 2018. All those planes remain grounded.

But the 800 version of the jet, also known as a 737 Next Generation or NG, has had its own problems. Boeing has delivered about 6,700 of these jets to airlines around the world.

In April 2018, parts of the engine on a Southwest Airlines (LUV) flight hit the side of the plane and shattered a window after a fan blade broke. The cabin depressurized and the woman sitting next to the window was killed.

In November 2019, the US National Transportation Safety Board recommended that Boeing redesign the outer covering of the planes' engines to prevent it from flying into the plane should a fan blade break on a future flight. It said that all Boeing 737 Next Generation series airplanes should be retrofitted with whatever fix Boeing comes up with.

Boeing said in November it is working on a fix for the jet covers.

But the 737 NG has other problems. Cracks have been discovered on structural supports that hold the wings in place, and several dozen have been grounded as a result. But while the FAA has ordered inspections, most of the 737 NGs have continued to fly.

Boeing's (BA) stock was down 1% in premarket trading following the crash, though shares recovered some of their earlier losses.

The company issued a statement Wednesday expressing condolences for the latest crash.

"This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed," said Boeing's statement.

The investigation will be made more difficult by where the crash took place, just outside Tehran, in the midst of rising tensions between Iran and the United States.

Iran says it will not hand over the black boxes from the Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737 to American authorities. Speaking to Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency, the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Authority, Ali Abedzadeh said that the black boxes would be analyzed in the country where the accident took place, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization rules. He also said Ukrainian investigators would be a part of the process.

"We will not give the black box to the manufacturer [Boeing] or America," he said.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated after the recent US strike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. Iran fired missiles late Tuesday at two Iranian bases in Iraq where American military personnel are located. Initial reports indicated there were no fatalities from that attack, which occurred just hours before the plane crash.

By Chris Isidore

Iran military plane crashes near dormant volcano

An Iranian military fighter jet crashed on Wednesday, December 25, near a dormant volcano in the northwest of the country, official media reported.

State news agency IRNA said the jet went down at 9:00 am (0530 GMT) near Mount Sabalan, in the Lesser Caucasus range, and was a MiG-29 on a test flight after being overhauled.

Amateur video footage published on the social media accounts of various media outlets in Iran appeared to show smoke rising above snow-capped peaks.

A search and rescue operation was launched for the plane and its crew.

"Following the crash of a military plane in Ardabil (province), helicopter and rescue groups have been sent to the region," Iran's Red Crescent said in a statement on its website.

Iran's third-highest peak, Mount Sabalan, features a crater that turns into a lake at certain times of the year.

U.S. warship downs Iranian passenger jet

On July 3, 1988 in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy cruiser Vincennes shoots down an Iranian passenger jet that it mistakes for a hostile Iranian fighter aircraft. Two missiles were fired from the American warship–the aircraft was hit, and all 290 people aboard were killed. The attack came near the end of the Iran-Iraq War, when U.S. vessels were in the gulf defending Kuwaiti oil tankers. Minutes before Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down, the Vincennes had engaged Iranian gunboats that shot at its helicopter.

Iran called the downing of the aircraft a “barbaric massacre,” but U.S. officials defended the action, claiming that the aircraft was outside the commercial jet flight corridor, flying at only 7,800 feet, and was on a descent toward the Vincennes. However, one month later, U.S. authorities acknowledged that the airbus was in the commercial flight corridor, flying at 12,000 feet, and not descending. The U.S. Navy report blamed crew error caused by psychological stress on men who were in combat for the first time. In 1996, the U.S. agreed to pay $62 million in damages to the families of the Iranians killed in the attack.

Source: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-warship-downs-iranian-passenger-jet