Compensation talks for victims of downed jetliner to start in October: Iran

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OTTAWA — The head of Iran’s civil aviation organization says his government will launch compensation talks in October with Canada and other countries that lost citizens when the Iranian military shot down a civilian jetliner earlier this year.

Touraj Dehqani Zangeneh made the comments to Iran’s official news agency over the weekend amid new Iranian claims about what happened on Jan. 8, when Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was downed shortly after takeoff from Tehran.

Speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency, Zangeneh said the Iranian government was prepared to pay full compensation to the families of the 176 people killed in the crash, which included 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents.

Iran initially denied responsibility for the crash before admitting — in the face of mounting evidence and international pressure — that the plane went down after being hit by two Iranian missiles.

Zangeneh also said in a statement published Sunday on the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran’s website that data downloaded from the plane’s black boxes showed some of those on board the plane were still alive after the first missile hit.

Iran has suggested the plane was shot by accident after an anti-aircraft battery near the Tehran airport was pointed in the wrong direction, but the families of some of the victims want an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.