Iran Has Done All Its Homework On Ukrainian Plane Crash
TEHRAN – In an exclusive interview with The Tehran Times, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohsen Baharvand developed a series of questions regarding Ukraine’s crash in Iran.
Iranian diplomats provided detailed explanations to questions about the plane’s case. He said Iran had done all its homework in terms of investigating the plane crash and paying compensation to the families of the victims.
He also criticized a recent Canadian report putting the blame on Iran, stressing that Canada must change its attitude towards Iran if it wants better relations with the country.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: What are the latest developments in the Ukrainian plane crash case and what steps have been taken so far?
A: We worked on two aspects. One was the tasks we had to accomplish. As I said, in an orderly manner to report the accident, which is very important, by the national aviation, and it has been done. We worked tirelessly to get the report out as soon as possible, and the accident investigation team also wrote their own report. After that, in justice, the judicial organization of the armed forces, began its investigations because the suspects and defendants were soldiers. And immediately, the operator of this anti-aircraft system and others who might have been involved in it were arrested. Many have been punished within the Iranian armed forces. We have an international obligation to pay damages, which was our other duty. That is, in the Warsaw Pact we have the obligation that for each victim you have to pay around twenty thousand dollars because I am not saying exactly because it is calculated with special drawing rights (DTS). But the government is taking action beyond that deal and allocating $ 150,000 to each person who dies. This money is available now, and some families have received this compensation, and others may arrive soon, and it is under way. And there is a willingness to pay this money. This money is given to all passengers. Foreign nationals can receive the amount of their compensation through their consulates in Iran and estate monopolies, through their lawyer, or through a representative or an embassy.
Q: Have any foreign nationals taken steps to receive compensation?
No action has been taken by the foreign nationals so far, but two countries are planned and we are waiting for them to present their legal documents and receive their compensation.
Another problem is negotiating with other countries that may have lost their citizens or Ukraine as the country that owns the aircraft. We have negotiated three times with Ukraine. Two tours in Kiev and one tour in Tehran.
Q: You mentioned the recent Ukrainian talks. What exactly did Ukraine want from Iran?
A: We have made every effort to provide countries with law-based data if they have requested it. For a very obvious reason: we did not hide anything to deprive others of certain information.
Therefore, if they wanted information, we provided it to Ukrainians according to law, but Ukrainians still want information that is neither known in principle nor can be provided according to law.
For example, they want information from our defense system that this information cannot be provided because it is related to the security of our country and is part of military secrets and no country can provide this information to anyone.
At the same time, the information they request from us, which we cannot provide, is an exception, as they request information according to which, according to international law and the relevant convention, the judicial process falls within the jurisdiction of the country on the territory from which the accident took place.
Q: Are the Ukrainians demanding that the Iranian defendants be tried by the Ukrainian courts and judiciary?
A: No. They want information so that they can file a separate file on this incident themselves. Of course, from a legal point of view, Ukraine can file a complaint about the fate of its citizens and what happened to them.
Q: Who were some of the top Iranian officials who were reprimanded or appeared in court, and what was their specific rank?
According to Iranian law, information about cases cannot be disclosed before a trial. We do not have a court file and we are not involved in it, but as soon as the court begins to hear, the lawyers for these families will be present. The families of the victims of the accident may be present and this will become clear at that time.
Q: Regarding Canada and a recent report from a Canadian government agency, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that Canada found no evidence that the crash was intentional, but blamed Iran for the incident. How do you assess this report?
This report has no value in international law, which means that it is an incomprehensible report because, under the Chicago Convention, Annex 13, the country where the accident took place must prepare a report showing what happened and not another country.
I am sometimes very disappointed that some countries think that only they understand the law. Only they can honestly report. Only they can write a technical report with precision. And when things happen, we see that they are very weak.
It was the job of Canadians to bury hundreds of children alive in Canadian schools. Therefore, you cannot pretend that you are the only one who understands the law and that you are the only one who is very civilized and understands the issues.
Q: Has Canada requested cooperation with Iran in preparing this report, and if so, has Iran cooperated, or has Canada itself prepared the report unilaterally? ?
A: Canada took action in the form of a Ukrainian consultant, and the Canadian technical team participated and made recommendations. The Iranian accident investigation team also accepted nearly 70% of the recommendations of the official Canadian report, which came in the form of a national aviation organization.
Q: You mentioned mass graves in Canada. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh raised the issue and somehow linked it to the Ukrainian plane case, saying Canada is unable while such incidents were occurring inside his country, whether on human rights issues or on the question of Ukraine. case to blame Iran. what is your opinion?
A: Canada and any other country can talk to Iran in its own way with mutual respect, and Iran has no weakness or fear to answer or ask questions.
What makes us have this attitude towards Canada is that Canada always tries to have a negative attitude towards Iran, whether it is politically or in international organizations or even by doing illegal things.
This means that we are not really negotiating with Canada. We have no demand from Canada. Canada does not completely illegally accept our country’s state immunity and has confiscated our government property, not just our diplomatic property, and Canada is in debt for that, and sooner or later it will have to return to the Iran this amount or the buildings it confiscated or sold.
This issue will not be forgotten and it is part of Canada’s debt to the Iranian nation and the Iranian nation’s money must be repaid. So this is our problem. Canada or any other country in this international system, if it has questions or criticisms, should be raised within the specific international framework that exists.
Q: One of the questions that is constantly raised in the case of the Ukrainian plane that somehow blames Iran, and even mentioned in the Canadian government report, is when the region of Tehran was on military alert, why the civilian plane did not stop to fly on the Iranian side? It was even raised in the negotiations. What has been Iran’s response?
A: As far as I know, closing the sky is not a commitment. Only precautionary measures were mentioned to be taken. Nowhere do you see that if a country is involved somewhere in a conflict, it has to shut its skies down. This does not happen.
It is not a commitment that must be honored. Second, our conflict zone with the United States, that is, the area and the base of Ain al-Assad that we were targeting, was seven or eight hundred kilometers from Tehran.
There is another matter. Part of the risk assessment lies with the airliner. It is not only a government duty on its sky that the flights are taking place, but an airline whose owner must have a risk assessment.
If he sees a conflict somewhere and something could happen to his plane, he should check and not fly. For example, British Airways was flying over Iraq and did not enter Iranian skies and returned announcing that the risk of flying over Iranian skies was high.
Q: When do you think the Ukrainian plane case will be closed, whether in the legal process inside Iran or in talks with other countries?
A: In our opinion, this file is closed when we have done our duty, when the trial has taken place and the compensation has been paid, within a reasonable time, those who wish can go to the Ministry of Roads and obtain their compensation.
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