Iran, Ukraine hold 'constructive' talks over downed passenger plane

Ukraine's foreign minister said the talks were productive, but the two sides have not yet agreed on compensation for the plane's downing.

al-monitor Relatives and colleagues of the 11 Ukrainians who died in a plane mistakenly shot down by Iran in January, attend a ceremony unveiling a memorial stone at the site of the future monument at the Boryspil International airport outside Kiev on Feb. 17, 2020.  Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images.

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boeing, hassan rouhani, downing of ukrainian plane, airlines, tehran, iranian foreign policy, ukraine, qasem soleimani

Jul 31, 2020

Ukraine held “constructive talks” with Iranian officials over compensation for the accidental downing of one of its passenger planes in January, Ukraine’s foreign minister said today. 

Iran admits shooting down the Boeing 737-800 after mistaking it for an approaching missile, killing all 176 people onboard the plane. Iran’s own investigation found that its missiles were "fired due to human error" shortly after the plane took off from Tehran’s airport. 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the 11 hours of talks with the Iranian delegation on Thursday as productive, but said the two sides didn’t reach an agreement on compensation. 

"Iran has agreed to fulfill all of its obligations under the international aviation conventions to which it is a party. This means that we can build the relevant work constructively,” Kuleba said, according to RFE/RL

If Iran stops cooperating, Kuleba said Ukraine would be open to an "alternative scenario to ensure the payment of compensation by other possible means." The next round of talks is set for October. 

Tehran initially denied involvement in the Kiev-bound flight’s downing. But within days, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered his condolences and said his government “deeply regrets” what he described as human error. 

Iran said its military was “at its highest level of readiness” when it mistook the aircraft as a missile. Hours before the crash, Iran was carrying out missile strikes on bases hosting US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the American drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

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