Iran denies downing plane, says West should share evidence

Updated: Jan 11, 2020, 08:33 IST | Agencies | Tehran

Western countries may hesitate to share information on such a strike because it comes from highly classified sources.

Rescue teams working near the debris of the plane. Pic/AFP
Rescue teams working near the debris of the plane. Pic/AFP

Tehran: Iran on Friday denied Western allegations that one of its own missiles downed a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed outside Tehran, and called on the US and Canada to share any information they have on the crash.

Western leaders said the plane appeared to have been unintentionally hit by a surface-to-air missile just hours after Iran launched around a dozen ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq to avenge the killing of its top general in an American airstrike last week.

"What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane," Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran's national aviation department, told a press conference."If they are really sure, they should come and show their findings to the world" in accordance with international standards, he added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country lost at least 63 citizens in the downing, said, "We have intelligence from multiple sources including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile."

The US officials did not say what intelligence they had that pointed to an Iranian missile, believed to be fired by Russian Tor system, known to NATO as the SA-15. But they acknowledged the existence of satellites and other sensors in the region, as well as the likelihood of communication interceptions and other similar intelligence.

Western countries may hesitate to share information on such a strike because it comes from highly classified sources.

176
No. of people who were killed in the crash

US rejects troop withdrawal talks

The US rejected a request by Iraq's caretaker PM to send a delegation to start preparations to pull out its troops in Iraq. "At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership, not to discuss troop withdrawal," state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Friday.

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