This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iran says analysis from the black boxes of a downed Ukrainian passenger plane shows it was hit by two missiles 25 seconds apart and that those on board were still alive after the first strike.
The announcement by the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization on August 23 marks the first official report on the contents of the cockpit voice and data recordings, which were sent to France for reading in July.
Tehran has said it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian airliner in January, at a time of tension with the United States. All 176 people aboard the plane were killed.
“Nineteen seconds after the first missile hit the plane, the voices of pilots inside the cockpit, indicated that the passengers were alive … 25 seconds later the second missile hit the plane,” Touraj Dehghani-Zanganeh was cited as saying by state television.
Iran has been in talks with Ukraine, Canada, and other nations that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and who have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.
“The data analysis from the black boxes should not be politicized,” Zanganeh said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight with ground-to-air missiles on January 8, just after the plane took off from Tehran, in what Iran later acknowledged as a “disastrous mistake” by forces on high alert during heightened tensions with the United States.
Iranian and Ukrainian officials have held talks on compensation for families of the victims. Another round of talks is set for October.