‘Certain’ that Ukraine plane was not hit by missile: Iran civil aviation chief

TEHRAN: The civil aviation chief of Iran Ali Abedzadeh said on Friday that he was “certain” a Ukrainian airliner that was crashed outside Tehran this week was not hit by a missile.

The civil aviation chief of Iran Ali Abedzadeh informed a news conference in Tehran that “One thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile,” after intelligence sources of both Britain and Canada suggested a catastrophic error by Iranian air defence batteries had downed the aircraft.

Abedzadeh said “The information in the black boxes … is crucial for the aviation organisation to make a statement.” Abedzadeh added that they were intact and under examination.

He further dismissed allegations against Iran, and added that “any remarks made before the data is extracted … is not an expert opinion.”

The statements from Britain and Canada came as video footage emerged that appeared to show the moment the airliner was hit.

The footage, which was verified by The New York Times said that a fast-moving object rising was seen to an angle into the sky before a flash was observed, which dims and then continues moving forward. Several seconds later an explosion was heard.

The civil aviation chief of Iran Ali Abedzadeh said, “We have seen some videos. We confirm that the airplane was on fire for 60 to 70 seconds.”

But “that it was hit by something cannot be scientifically correct,” Abedzadeh added.

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