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Iran will send the black boxes from the Ukrainian plane shot down by mistake to Kiev

The flight of Ukraine International Airlines was shot down on January 8th by two IRGC missiles
Black box of the Ukrainian plane that crashed on 8 January in Iran, according to Iranian civil aviation

AFP / FOTO / HO / IRÁN PRENSA  -   Black box of the Ukrainian plane that crashed on 8 January in Iran, according to Iranian civil aviation

Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami announced on Wednesday that the black boxes from the Ukraine International Airlines plane will be sent to Kiev. The flight was shot down on January 8 by two IRGC missiles by mistake, Iranian military sources acknowledged, killing 176 people. The incident occurred at a time of tension with the United States, just five days after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani by American drones.

Ukraine initially claimed that it lacked the technical capacity to read the information on the boxes, but now claims that it can, according to Eslami. The minister said that the Americans have provided Ukraine with the software and documents to be able to decipher the information on the 737-800 plane manufactured by the American company Boeing. 

Infografía
AFP/AFP - Infographics of the black box flight recorders

"The plan is that the reading of the black box will be done in Ukraine, in the presence of representatives of the International Aviation Organization (ICAO)," Eslami explained. "And if the conditions are not met, then it will have to be done jointly in France". The fate of the voice and data recorders in the cockpit's black box has been the subject of international confrontation, although in recent months it has been overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis. Delays in an investigation by Iran's Air Accident Investigation Board have extended the deadlines, according to Iranian authorities. 

A fatal mistake

It was an accident, but it was due to causes unrelated to the plane. The Boeing 737-800 of Ukraine International Airlines that crashed just after taking off from Tehran with 176 people on board was shot down by a missile fired by mistake. That is the conclusion reached, with a high degree of probability, by agents of the U.S. intelligence community quoted by CBS News.

Accidente
PHOTO/NAZANIN TABATABAEE/WANA via REUTERS - Safety officers and Red Crescent workers at the crash site of the Ukraine International Airlines plane

The accident took place just a few hours after the launch of 22 missiles over the Iraqi bases of Ain al-Asad and Erbil. The intelligence agents cited say they have reached this conclusion - which they consider probable but not definitive - based on multiple indications. According to their statements, a US satellite detected several signals. First, it found that a radar began to operate. Second, it detected the infrared trail of two missiles that had been fired from the ground. Third, the same satellite picked up the mark of an explosion.

At first Tehran assured that it was not going to send the boxes to Kiev, according to information published by the government agency IRNA. "We are trying to decipher the black boxes here in Iran. If we can't, other options are Ukraine and France, but no decision has been taken so far to send them to another country," Hassan Rezaeifar, the head of the accident investigation, told IRNA. He is the same person who, this very Friday, had announced that the flight log would be sent to Kiev, since the technology to extract the data correctly was not available in Iran.