Iran Sends PS752 Black Box to France

  • "The black boxes were transferred to Paris yesterday by aviation organization officials and a judge, and their reading will start on Monday."
  • Iran had been delaying for more than six months.
  • The French government has not yet commented.

Mohsen Baharvand, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran for International and Legal Affairs, announced that the black box of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which was shot down over the skies of Tehran by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on January 8, has been sent to France.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Tehran to Kiev operated by Ukraine International Airlines, or UIA. On 8 January 2020, the Boeing 737-800 operating the route was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, which attributed it to human error.

“The black boxes were transferred to Paris yesterday by aviation organization officials and a judge, and their reading will start on Monday,” Baharvand was quoted as saying on Saturday. “The French government has cooperated very well with the Iranian delegation and it is fit that I thank them for this,” he added.

After more than six months following the downing of PS752, Iran has finally complied with the international community’s request to send the plane’s black box to France for decryption. The air defense of the IRGC shot down the Boeing 737-800 shortly after takeoff from Tehran airport, firing two surface-to-air missiles.

Iran initially denied shooting down the plane, but later acknowledged that a “catastrophic mistake” had been made, in the full readiness of the defense system to counter a possible US attack.

The Tehran military prosecutor recently said in a statement that the Ukrainian plane had been shot down due to a “radar system error,” and “lack of coordination between the defense system user and the coordination center.”

The downing of PS752 killed all 176 people on board. Most of the passengers were Iranians. Citizens from Sweden, Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, and Ukraine were also among the passengers.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) (‘Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution’ or Sepâh for short) is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, founded after the Iranian Revolution on 22 April 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Revolutionary Guards state that their role in protecting the Islamic system is preventing foreign interference as well as coups by the military or “deviant movements.”

Iran had refused to hand over the plane’s black box, which could shed light on the way the plane was shot down. Following the pursuit of foreign countries, particularly Ukraine and Canada, Iran finally announced last month that it would send the downed plane’s black box to France for experts from the United States, Canada, France, Britain, and Ukraine to decrypt its data.

Ali Rabiee, a spokesman for the Iranian government, reiterated at a news conference in Tehran that the black box of a Ukrainian passenger plane would be sent to Ukraine for further examination by experts. Iranian officials announced a few days ago that they were sending the black box to France.

In response to the reasons for Iran’s long delay in sending the plane’s black box, the government spokesman replied that the decision had been made to send the black box abroad and that the plane’s black box would be sent  “with Iranian representatives as soon as possible.”

“If the possibility of re-reading is provided in Ukraine based on the claims of the Ukrainian side, it will be done there,” Rabiee said. “Otherwise, the black box will be re-read in France, given the long history of the french institute, which is also approved by ICAO.”

The black boxes contain information about the last moments before the plane crashed.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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