13:30 GMT23 September 2020
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    Analysis of the black boxes of the Ukrainian passenger plane downed on January 8 by Iranian forces shows that it was hit by two missiles 25 seconds apart and that passengers were alive for some time following the first blast, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization revealed on Sunday.

    According to Touraj Dehghani-Zanganeh, the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, the second missile hit Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 just 25 seconds after the first, but only 19 seconds of that gap were recorded by the black boxes due to damage from the first missile, Reuters reported, citing Iranian state television.

    “Nineteen seconds after the first missile hit the plane, the voices of pilots inside the cockpit indicated that the passengers were alive ... 25 seconds later the second missile hit the plane,” he said. “Therefore, no analysis of the performance and effects of the second missile was obtained from the aircraft’s black box.”

    The aircraft’s flight crew, consisting of two pilots and an instructor in the cockpit, also tried to prevent the plane from crashing until the very last second, Zanganeh noted.

    “The data analysis from the black boxes should not be politicized,” he added.

    Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeni Yenin has stated that black box analyses verify that Iran is responsible for the plane’s downing.

    "The data from flight recorders that Iran has finally decided to reveal - eight months after the incident and a month after being decoded in France - proves what we thought from the beginning,” Yenin recently told Radio Farda. “The plane had no technical problems, the pilots acted according to guidelines and two missiles by [Iran's] air defense caused its crash although it had permission to fly from military and non-military bodies.”

    On July 30, Iranian and Ukrainian officials held talks in Kiev to discuss the downing of the passenger plane and discuss compensation to families of the victims. Another round of talks is scheduled for October. Iran has also been in talks with other nations which had citizens aboard the plane. 

    The victims included people from Iran, Canada, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany and the United Kingdom. Officials from multiple countries have demanded a comprehensive investigation into the incident.

    In mid-June, Iranian investigators requested that France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) read the black boxes belonging to the Ukrainian jetliner after Tehran claimed that Kiev had been slow in responding to its offer to provide Kiev with the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

    The Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 aircraft was shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missiles and crashed near Tehran shortly after departing from Iran’s Imam Khomeini Airport on January 8. All 176 passengers and crew onboard died. 

    The incident took places hours after Iranian missiles struck two Iraqi bases that host American troops in response to the January 3 US-orchestrated assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. The Iranian military has admitted that it unintentionally shot down the jetliner after confusing it with a hostile US cruise missile.

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