VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is insisting Iran respect the wishes of families when it comes to burying those who died when a passenger jet was shot down outside Tehran, noting doing so would also respect the principles of Islam.

“We recognize that it is a challenge that Iran does not recognizes double citizenship, but the focus that we’ve had on supporting the families has been to ensure that the families’ wishes are respected in regards to burials, in regards to next steps, and that is what we have been insisting on with Iran,” Trudeau said Tuesday in Winnipeg as he wrapped up a three-day cabinet retreat.

“Respecting the wishes of the families lines up not with a question of citizenship, but it lines up also with international laws and practice and with principles around Islam for burials,” Trudeau said. “So we’ve been insisting on that with Iran and that is what we are hoping they will continue to do.”

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed when the it crashed outside Tehran earlier this month after being hit by two Iranian surface-to-air missiles.

Ottawa has confirmed that included 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents of Canada.

The Canadian Press has independently confirmed at least 90 victims with ties to Canada, many of them students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.

On Monday, however, Iran’s aviation authority issued a report that said the jetliner was carrying five Canadian nationals. The report says the figures reflected the passports used by passengers to board the aircraft.

That has raised concerns the bodies won’t be allowed out of the country for those families wishing for a burial in Canada.

Iran is a majority-Muslim country, where most people are members of the Shia denomination. It is customary for remains to be buried as soon as possible after death.

Meanwhile, Canada and its allies are pushing Iran to release the black boxes from the jetliner to another country that can quickly download its crucial flight data.

Trudeau suggested that sending them to France would be a good idea.

“The black boxes are key to the investigation and there are rules around making sure that they are analysed quickly and properly in cases such as these. It is not simply a question of having the right experts in place to analyse the black boxes,” Trudeau said Tuesday.

“There has been broad consensus in the international community that France would be the right place to send those boxes, but we continue to pressure Iran to do just that,” said Trudeau.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Tuesday that request also emerged from his conference call on Monday with counterparts from Britain, Sweden, Afghanistan and Ukraine, all of which lost citizens in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752.

It was the first follow-up conversation of the so-called International Co-ordination and Response Group for victims of PS752 since Champagne hosted its inaugural meeting in London last week.

Canada pushed to form the group to add weight and unity to the international effort to ensure Iran’s co-operation after its Revolutionary Guards shot down the passenger plane earlier this month.

A summary of Champagne’s call with representatives from the response group says Iran is co-operating with foreign experts in the investigation, but also emphasizes the need for Iran to allow a thorough and credible international investigation.

“Members of the ICRG call on Iran to move the black boxes to a facility with all of the technology and expertise required to quickly and reliably download and analyse the data without delay,” the summary says.

“Iran has indicated it is willing to do so.”

READ MORE: Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

READ MORE: UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

On Sunday, Champagne wrote to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif — two days after they met face to face in Oman — to stress Canada’s view that the black boxes should be sent quickly for analysis by experts in either France or Ukraine.

A preliminary report released Monday by Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said it needs technical assistance from France and the United States to analyse the data.

The black boxes sustained physical damage, but their memory is intact after the flight was hit by two missiles within three minutes of taking off from Tehran’s airport on Jan. 8, the report says.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Flight 752 crash in Iran

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in Smithers over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read