Canadian PM Trudeau: Intelligence suggests Iran shot down airliner

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that the country has intelligence indicating a Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Tehran this week was shot down by an Iranian missile.

An official walks amid wreckage from a Ukrainian Boeing 737 about 30 miles south of Tehran on Wednesday. Photo by Morteza Nikoubazi

He made the statement during a televised news conference about the crash, in which 63 people carrying Canadian passports died. None of the 176 people on board the plane survived.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence,” Trudeau said. “The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional.”

The prime minister didn’t offer any details about the evidence, but said he and the families of the victims want answers about what happened.

“That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice,” he said. “This government will not rest until we get that.”

U.S. intelligence officials also disputed Iranian investigators’ claim, that a technical failure is most likely to blame. CNN, CBS News, NBC News and Newsweek all reported Thursday that intelligence officials believe the airliner was accidentally downed by an Iranian missile.

After analyzing satellite and radar data, U.S. officials said a “working theory” indicates Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752 was mistakenly attacked by Iranian forces. The crash occurred shortly after Iran launched two missile attacks at a pair of U.S. bases in Iraq.

U.S. satellites detected two surface-to-air missile launches shortly before the plane went down, the CBS News report said.

The New York Times also obtained footage purporting to show an Iranian missile hitting the plane near the airport. The newspaper said it verified the authenticity of the video.

In the video, a missile appears to strike the aircraft, causing a small explosion. The plane continued to fly and attempted to turn back toward the airport before experiencing a larger explosion and crashing.

ByDarryl Coote & Don Jacobson & Danielle Haynes