Iran Plane Investigation Will Draw on Lessons Learned From MH17, International Response Group Says

Canada's foreign minister has said that those probing Iran's shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 will draw on the expertise and experience of the Dutch investigators who analyzed the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.

Francois-Philipe Champagne made the comments during a press conference for the International Coordination and Response Group in London on Thursday.

Also present were representatives from six non-Iranian nations—Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, the U.K., Ukraine and Afghanistan—whose citizens were among the 176 killed when Iranian troops destroyed a passenger plane near Tehran last week.

Champagne told reporters that Dutch input on the incident had been particularly helpful, given the nation's central role in investigating the MH17 flight shot down by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists in 2014.

"We have taken the lessons learned and Minister [Stef] Blok—the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands—was spending a good part of the day with us [talking] about lessons learned," Champagne said of the MH17 investigation.

"We certainly want to apply those lessons learned to work in cooperation," he added. Champagne said the nations involved have asked the Dutch government to provide observers for the investigation's various working groups.

"The families of the victims and their loved ones deserve that we use the best possible expertise that you can find around the world," Champagne said.

"The international community needs to make sure that we learn from MH17 and PS752 and implement the measures [to ensure that] tragedies like that never happen again."

Iran has admitted shooting down PS752, explaining its troops misidentified the plane as an enemy military aircraft. The incident occurred just hours after Iran launched missile strikes against U.S. targets in Iraq, meaning Iranian anti-aircraft troops were on high alert for retaliation.

Iranian authorities initially blamed technical failure for the crash, but U.S. and Canadian intelligence reports eventually forced Tehran to admit fault. Neither Russia nor its eastern Ukrainian allies have ever admitted to shooting down MH17.

Champagne warned that the investigation into the tragedy will not be quick. "We will have to work together for months and possibly years to come," he said of Iran and those nations involved.

Representatives set out a five-point framework for cooperation with Iranian authorities at Thursday's press conference.

The International Coordination and Response Group is demanding full access for their officials to provide consular services in Iran, that victim identification and repatriation is conducted according to international standards, and a thorough investigation governed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The framework also dictates that Iran must accept full responsibility—including for all relevant compensation—for the tragedy, and that all those responsible be identified via an independent investigation and dealt with through transparent and fair judicial proceedings.

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his file photo shows a memorial to victims who died aboard Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in Iran, at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton, Canada on January 12, 2020. WALTER TYCHNOWICZ/AFP via Getty Images/Getty