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Canadian diplomats face challenges entering Iran: Foreign Affairs

“We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Jason Unrau Montreal, QC

The entire envoy of 11 Canadian officials, including two Transport Safety Board crash investigators, won’t be fully assembled in Iran until Tuesday, according to Foreign Affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

Champagne provided the update on Twitter Sunday, about ongoing efforts by his government to manage the crisis.

Late Friday evening, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted during a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that one of the regime’s anti-aircraft batteries “unintentionally” downed the Ukraine airlines’ 737-800, killing all on board including 57 Canadians.

On Saturday, Trudeau held his third press conference in four days to address the atrocity and described Rouhani’s admission of guilt as “an important step.”

“But I noted that many more steps must be taken,” said Trudeau.

“A full and complete investigation must be conducted. We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred.  Families are seeking justice and accountability and they deserve closure.”

Asked how he felt about the incident, Trudeau responded the he was “outraged and furious that families across this country are grieving the loss of their loved ones, that the Iranian-Canadian community is suffering so greatly.”

Part of the investigation is likely to include why Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 to Kyev was allowed to take off at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday (Tehran time), barely four hours after Iran concluded a missile bombardment on military bases in Iraq.

That missile bombardment was purported retaliation for United States’ killing of Qassem Soleimani, Iranian Quds Force commander who died at Baghdad airport on Jan. 2 in a drone strike.

After flight 752 crashed in the outskirts of Tehran, Iran denied involvement and suggested the plane crashed due to engine failure.

However, video evidence and satellite intelligence obtained by Canada and its allies indicate the plane was hit by shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile fired inside Iran.

Given the sequence of events, Trudeau would not say if Soleimani was a legitimate military target, given his command of Quds Force–a Public Safety Canada “listed terrorist entity” since 2012.

“These are the kinds of questions that we will have to be reflecting on in the coming days and weeks,” said the PM.

“Our focus right now is providing the support to grieving families that need answers, that need closure, that need justice.”

Canada cut official diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012, closing our embassy in Tehran and tossing Iran’s officials from Ottawa.

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