Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States must give Tehran the means and equipment required for extracting data from the black box of the Ukrainian plane which was accidentally shot down in Tehran last month.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Zarif said the Americans can come to Iran with their equipment and even do the investigation themselves, but in Iran’s presence.
He further noted that Tehran needs the information in the airplane’s black box more than anybody else does.
“We have asked for help. Why haven’t the US helped us? This is a humanitarian issue. Why haven’t they given us the software? Why haven’t they given us the expertise? We wrote both Boeing and NTSB the first day after the incident. We wrote to the French. We wrote to the Canadians to give us the information, give us the software, give us the hardware. We invited Boeing and NTSB to participate in the investigation. Why haven’t they provided it to us? Is there anything that they want to hide?”
“There is nothing that we want to hide because we announced that it was shot down by mistake. But is there anything that they want to hide? This is a question. I’m not a man of conspiracy theory. But it leaves this question very fresh in mind. Why are they not giving us the tools to read this black box?
Is there anything in this black box they don’t want us to know? That’s a big question,” stressed Zarif.
Elsewhere in his remarks Zarif said the Islamic Republic will not touch the black box without the presence of all interested parties.
He also noted that nobody is bothering to give information to Iran as the country which has the right to investigate this.
“We have admitted that it was our missile that brought down the airplane. So the information that a family wants to know is there for them to know, but we need information. We need information why did that happen? And they are refusing to provide us with that information. We have a right to that information. We have a legal right. We have a national right and we have the personal rights of all the families.”
Stressing that most of the passengers of the Ukrainian airliner have the next of kin in Iran, Iranian foreign minister underlined Tehran has allowed the next of kin to take the bodies to wherever they want, but only 12 took the bodies out of Iran plus the Ukrainians.
“Everybody is buried in Iran. That means all of their loved ones are in Iran. They are our citizens, and we feel the responsibility to respond to them. Why is not the United States giving us the material, the technology, the data, the software, the cables for us read this? Why do they want it to go out of Iran?
Why do they want it out of our jurisdiction? Why do they want it out of our hands? What is there that they want to hide? That’s a big big question,” said Zarif.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Tehran to Kiev operated by Ukraine International Airlines. On 8 January 2020, the Boeing 737-800 operating the route was mistakenly shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. All 176 passengers and crew lost their lives.