News World Iran says it will not hand over black box from crashed airliner
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Iran says it will not hand over black box from crashed airliner

The Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed near Tehran. Photo: AAP
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Iran’s aviation authority has said it will not hand over flight recorders from the Ukraine International Airlines jet which crashed in Iran’s capital, either to the aircraft’s manufacturer or US aviation authorities.

Conjecture continues to surround investigations into the jet which crashed in Iran’s capital, killing all 176 passengers.

The timing of the fiery crash has led to speculation the plane may have been hit.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was calling for complete co-operation with any investigation into cause.

Under international rules, responsibility for investigating the crash lies with Iran. Iranian state television said both of the plane’s black box voice and data recorders had been found.

Immediately after the crash on Wednesday, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency attributed the Boeing 737-800’s plunge into a field outside the Tehran to “technical problems” – an explanation that surprised experts who noted the aircraft’s black boxes had not yet been recovered and that such investigations usually take months to reach a determination.

Ukraine officials initially endorsed the diagnosis of mechanical failure, only to change their minds within hours, saying they had not ruled out the possibility that the airliner was brought down by a missile or an attack.

They noted that the plane, one of Boeing’s most reliable models, had been serviced within the past week and was only three years old.

However five security sources – three Americans, one European and one Canadian – who have asked not to be named, have told Reuters the initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile.

There was evidence one of the jet’s engines had overheated, the Canadian source said.

Officials inspect the wreckage in the aftermath of the crash. Photo: AAP

Canada expects to play a big role in Iran’s probe of an airliner crash that killed scores of Canadians even though the two nations do not have diplomatic ties.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 138 of the 176 people aboard the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 from Tehran to Kiev had onward connections to Canada.

It was confirmed early Thursday morning (Australian time) that 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals were among the passengers on board. The remaining eleven people killed in the fiery crash are Ukrainians.

Mr Trudeau said Mr Champagne would call Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif later on Wednesday to underline the need for a proper probe of the crash.

“Canada is one of a handful of countries with a high degree of expertise when it comes to these sorts of accidents and therefore we have much to contribute,” he said.

“I am confident that in our engagement both through our allies and directly, we are going to make sure we are a substantive contributor to this investigation,” he told a news conference in Ottawa.

Italy normally acts as a proxy for communication between Canada and Iran and the Ukrainian ambassador told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp his government was willing to help.

The disaster marked one of the greatest recent losses of Canadian life in a single day.

Mr Trudeau would not comment on possible causes for the tragedy.

“Obviously we are very, very early days on the investigation. It’s dangerous to speculate on possible causes,” he said.

Canada broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012.

Most of the victims came from Canada’s Iranian community.

Among the dead were a newlywed couple who had traveled to Iran to get married as well as two professors at the University of Alberta.

“Your loss is indescribable and this is a heartbreaking tragedy. While no words will erase your pain, I want you to know that an entire country is with you. We share your grief,” Mr Trudeau said to those affected.

-with AAP