Iran Allocates Compensation for Downed Ukrainian Plane Victims’ Families

Debris is seen from an Ukrainian plane which crashed as authorities work at the scene in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Jan. 8, 2020.Debris is seen from an Ukrainian plane which crashed as authorities work at the scene in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Jan. 8, …
Ebrahim Noroozi/AP Photo

Tehran on Wednesday allocated $150,000 for the families of each of the 176 victims of a Ukrainian plane shot down by Iran in January.

“The [Iranian] cabinet approved the provision of $150,000 or the equivalent in euros as soon as possible to the families and survivors of each of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash,” an Iranian government statement said on Wednesday, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has said it accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane in Iranian airspace on January 8 — killing all 176 of its passengers and crew — after mistaking it for a missile at a time when tensions with the U.S. were high. The U.S. launched a drone strike killing Iranian General Qasem Soleimani five days before the incident.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the compensation for the victims’ families should be established through diplomatic talks in accordance with international practice. It added that this could occur only after establishing the accident’s causes and bringing to justice those responsible for the tragedy.

“The Ukrainian side expects from Iran a draft technical report on the circumstances of the aircraft shooting down,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said.

“This situation is especially unacceptable, since we are talking about the fate of innocent people,” he said.

Nikolenko added that Iran had yet to implement earlier settlement agreements without providing further details.

The Kyiv Post reported on December 9 that Iran had withdrawn an offer to pay the flight victims’ families compensation for the accident. Tehran’s plan to allocate the compensation funds from Iran’s national development fund reportedly led to the proposal being withdrawn.

“According to my information, the government has already withdrawn this proposal [on the provision of appropriate funds in the budget], since it was assumed that 200 million euros would be allocated from the national development fund, which led to serious internal discussions in Iranian society,” the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Yevhen Enin, said in an interview with Ukraine’s Hromadske Radio, according to the newspaper.

Victims of the UIA plane crash included dozens of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, along with a number of people with ties to Canadian universities.

Canada’s foreign affairs minister, François-Philippe Champagne, commented on the news that Iran has allocated a settlement for the victims’ families on Wednesday.

“Canada and the other members of the International Coordination and Response Group (CG) are taking a co-ordinated approach to obtaining reparations from Iran, which includes not only compensation for the families but also an accounting of the events that led to the tragic result,” he said in a statement.

The CG is an international coordination and response group to support families of victims of the downed UIA plane. The group’s members — Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, the U.K., and Afghanistan — have pledged to “ensure a full and transparent investigation into the causes of the fatal crash and coordinate legal efforts to pursue accountability and reparations from Iran so that families and loved ones may get the answers they deserve.”

In his statement on Wednesday, Champagne added that “no negotiations or meetings” between Iran and other countries have been held to discuss victim compensation and that “no formal offers have been made by Iran to the CG countries.”

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