Four countries whose citizens were killed when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner last year have demanded that Tehran should clarify the issue of reparations.
Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and Britain on Thursday said they could consider new steps in line with international law against Iran if it failed to respond by January 5 to demands for reparations.
Most of the 176 people killed when Iran shot down a Ukrainian jet on January 8, 2020, were citizens from those four countries, which created a coordination group that seeks to hold Tehran to account.
"The Coordination Group's patience is wearing thin," it said in a statement, adding that the group had pressed Tehran to open talks on reparations and to deliver justice but said Iran had shown it was reluctant to respond in a timely manner.
It said Iran should respond by January 5 or the group would "have to seriously consider other actions to resolve this matter within the framework of international law" but gave no details.
Tehran claims Revolutionary Guards accidentally shot down the Boeing 737 jet and blamed a misaligned radar and an error by the air defense operator at a time when tensions were high between Tehran and the United States. The plane was taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini international airport.
Iran, which tried to hide the nature of the plane’s crash for three days, did not allow an independent investigation of the incident and delayed the reading of the flight recorders for months.
Ukraine has repeatedly protested lac\k of cooperation by Tehran and its failure to conduct an open investigation and legal pursuit of those responsible.
Critics and victim families have highlighted that the incident took place hours after Iran fired missiles at US bases in Iraq and failed to close the civilian airspace while being on alert for possible US retaliation.
Critics also point out that it would be almost impossible to mistaken a civilian plane taking off from an airport for an enemy cruise missile, as Iranian officials have suggested. In addition, two missiles were fired at the plane, 30 seconds apart, which puts doubt into the accidental firing theory.
With reporting by Reuters