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Iranian minister to appear at Canadian hosted meeting of Tehran crash victims

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Iranian minister to appear at Canadian hosted meeting of Tehran crash victims

MUNICH –
Iran's foreign minister will make a brief appearance today at a meeting organized in Germany by Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne with colleagues from countries that lost citizens due to a Ukrainian plane crash near Tehran last month.

Canada and its allies are pressing Iran to release the black boxes from the accident so that their data can be properly analyzed by France's facilities.

Champagne says the decision to invite Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif to the meeting was made after consulting his fellow foreign ministers from Britain, Sweden, Afghanistan and Ukraine, who are attending the Munich Security Conference.

All of these countries lost citizens five weeks ago when Iran's military fired two missiles at a Ukrainian plane, killing all 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians.

Champagne says ministers want to hear an update from Iran on requests to allow access to the black boxes, as well as the latest developments on investigation and compensation for the victims' families.

Champagne says he believes there has been progress at a meeting with Zarif on Friday to convince Iran to abandon the black boxes, pointing to the fact that Iran has not yet analyzed the contents of the flight data and voice recorders of the cabin as proof that they can't do it alone.

"I think we had a productive discussion," said Champagne on Friday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the Champagne-Zarif meeting because he said it would help pressure Iran to admit it has no equipment to analyze the boxes.

"I made a promise to families in Canada to do everything they can to ensure that they receive answers, that we have a thorough and thorough investigation, that we understand exactly what happened," Trudeau told reporters on Friday.

Last month, in London, Canada convened the first meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of flight PS752, to present a united front to Iran, while pushing for a transparent investigation of the accident and possible compensation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 15, 2020.

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