Iran shot down plane with two Russian-made missiles, US official says
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday the downing of a Ukrainian plane in Tehran "does not suggest an intentional act."
His comments come after multiple US officials have said the US increasingly believes that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday.
"Australia has received similar intelligence to that which has been spoken to by both the Prime Minister of Canada and from the United States," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
"It is just a terrible, terrible event and we'll provide whatever support we can."
The Australian Prime Minister also called for a probe into the disaster, saying "it is absolutely critical that full and transparent investigation is undertaken into this terrible event and that would include undertaking all efforts to ensure we get recovery of the black box recorder that can obviously inform that investigation."
Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas, said earlier this week it is "adjusting its flight paths over the Middle East to avoid the airspace over Iraq and Iran until further notice."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to blame Iran for the downing of a Ukrainian jetliner this week, saying tonight, “we’ll see what actually transpired.”
“If it, in fact, proves after the investigation is complete what it is I think many surmise at this point, that in fact, it was the Iranians who fired a missile and took down this aircraft, it will have been Iranians that killed Iranians inside of Iran, an enormous tragedy,” Pompeo said on “The Ben Shapiro Show.”
Pompeo added: “But no matter what the situation is, to suggest somehow that actions that America took to protect itself, to defend America and to take down a terrorist in Baghdad, had any implications or any connection to what the Iranians ultimately chose to do is farcical, fanciful, and clearly political."
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will participate in the investigation into the Ukrainian Airlines flight that crashed in Iran, killing 176 people, according to a statement.
The statement said the agency “will not speculate about the cause of the crash” and that Iranian authorities, which notified the NTSB of the crash, will be the lead agency.
The NTSB has designated one of its investigators, known as an “accredited representative,” to assist.
The Iranian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has invited the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) to go to the Ukrainian airliner crash site in Tehran, according to a release from TSB.
The TSB has accepted the invitation and is making arrangements to travel to the site, where the board will work with other groups and organizations already on site, the release said.
“The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) again extends its condolences to the families and loved ones of the people who perished in the tragic crash,” the release added.
Iran’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Abbas Mousavi tweeted that the investigation into the cause behind the crash of Ukrainian Airlines flight has officially launched based on international guidelines set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Mousavi added that representatives from Ukraine and aircraft manufacturer Boeing have been invited to take part in the investigation.
He ended the tweet by saying, “We appreciate any country who can provide information to the committee in charge.”
Iranian aviation authorities have invited the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to join the investigation into the Ukrainian Airlines plane that crashed in Iran, killing 176 people on board, according to a US official.
What we know about the crash: The US increasingly believes Iran mistakenly shot down the airliner, according to multiple US officials.
Allowing US investigators to participate in the inquiry is significant and allows Boeing to participate. But it sets up a thorny situation because some sanctions would need to be waived to allow the US side to participate.
The plane involved is a Boeing 737-800. The company and the NTSB did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa canceled flights to Tehran today, the airlines said.
Lufthansa flight LH 600, which was on its way from Frankfurt to Tehran, will return to Frankfurt, the German airline said in a statement.
Both airlines in separate statements said the decisions were made due to "the latest reports and a changed assessment of the security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport."
Both Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa have suspended flights to Tehran for Friday and said they "continue to evaluate the situation on site with national and international authorities."
This development comes after multiple American officials said the US increasingly believes that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday.
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi expressed condolences for the families of the plane crash victims.
In comments to the UN Security Council this afternoon, he said:
"We express our deep condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in a plane crash in Iran. A thorough investigation is underway on the incident."