Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said they have intelligence information from multiple sources that a Ukrainian jet was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile on Wednesday morning, Reuters reported citing the premier's speech at a news conference in Ottawa.
"We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The intelligence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile. This may well have been unintentional", Trudeau said.
He, however, refused to elaborate on the particulars of the intelligence Canada possesses but did add that he was informed of the developments late last night and this morning local time.
Trudeau: Canadians want answers, I want answers. That means closure, transparency accountability, and justice. And this government will not rest until we get that.— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) January 9, 2020
Trudeau was also asked multiple times about how much responsibility the United States should bear for the crashed aircraft in terms of the killing of Iran's top military commander Qasem Soleimani, but he answered that it was too soon to be apportioning blame for the crash or drawing any conclusions.
He added that Iran was committed to continuing dialogue with Canada. He revealed that during a phone call earlier in the day between Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Tehran indicated it would keep black boxes in Iran but was open to allowing Canadian consular officials into the country to help the families of the victims.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said in a statement that it was accepting Tehran's invitation and making arrangements to travel to the site of the jet crash in Iran.
"The TSB has been invited by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau of the Islamic Republic of Iran to attend the accident site. We have accepted this invitation and we are making arrangements to travel to the site. The TSB will be working with other groups and organizations already on site", the agency said in a statement on Thursday.
Canada does not maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran, and Italy functions as the interlocutor between the two sides.
Trudeau also noted what he said appeared to be a more conciliatory tone in the wake of the tragedy that has impacted both countries.
Earlier, two unnamed US officials told AP that the Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 Flight PS752 was "highly likely" downed by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile. Reports that the aircraft was downed by an air defence missile have been vehemently denied by the head of Iran’s civil aviation, Ali Abedzadeh, who called them "illogical rumours".
A Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737-800 crashed minutes after taking off from Tehran International Airport, claiming the lives of 167 passengers and nine crew members. The plane was carrying mostly Iranians and Canadians (82 and 63 respectively), as well as 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three UK citizens.