British Columbia

A protest and a memorial: People in B.C. express outrage, sadness over Iran flight tragedy

A memorial was held Saturday in North Vancouver for Flight PS752 victims Daniel Saket and Faye Kazerani, while others gathered at Vancouver's Art Gallery to express their outrage that Iran downed the plane.

Memorial held for victims in North Vancouver, while others protest at Vancouver Art Gallery

A memorial was held Saturday for B.C. residents Hossein (Daniel) Saket and Fatemeh (Faye) Kazerani in North Vancouver. The couple died in the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 on Jan. 8. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

A memorial for two victims of downed Flight PS752 was held in North Vancouver Saturday while dozens of other people gathered at Vancouver's Art Gallery to express their outrage at Iran's admission that it downed the plane. 

Hossein (Daniel) Saket and Fatemeh (Faye) Kazerani, a couple in their 30s, were on the flight after spending the holidays in Iran.

Saket worked as a lead structural engineer at Denna Homes, a real estate development company in North Vancouver, while Kazerani worked as an assistant to a cardiologist at St. Paul's Hospital. It was originally reported that she had been a dental hygienist.

Abo Taheri, Saket's uncle, says he was committed to helping his friends, family and neighbours.

"[He was] more than a nephew. He was a friend and a son to my family. And Faye, she was such a kind, great person," he said.

People embrace at a memorial in North Vancouver on Saturday for Hossein (Daniel) Saket and Fatemeh (Faye) Kazerani. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Daniel Saket moved from Iran to Montreal in 2017 and, after visiting Taheri in Vancouver, decided to stay and marry Kazerani.

"Sometimes two people become one and Faye and Daniel ... they were those people. Two bodies in one spirit," he said. "We love them forever."

Later Saturday, dozens of people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to express condolences to the families of the victims but also to protest Iran's admission that it shot down the plane on Wednesday. All 176 passengers on board died. Most of them were travelling to Canada. 

People at the protest said they always suspected Iran had shot down the plane despite officials' initial lack of clarity. 

"It show's the irresponsibility of the Iranian government," said organizer Tahmi Satehi.

Tahmi Satehi helped organize a vigil and protest on Saturday in response to the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Shahrokh Ferdowsi's cousin, Farhad Nicknam, a dentist living in Toronto, was on the flight. Ferdowsi held a picture of his cousin at the gathering in Vancouver on Saturday.

"We lost the best of the family. We lost a rising star in our family. We can't cope with this," said Ferdowsi.

Nicknam's wife and two daughters are in Toronto. Ferdowsi is angry over how officials in Iran handled the downing of the plane.

"They should not have allowed this plane to take off at this time," he said. "They knew something was going on in the sky. They should've stopped any domestic flights. But they didn't."

Shahrokh Ferdowsi's cousin, Farhad Nicknam, was on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday that Tehran must take full responsibility for downing Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.

He says Iran must provide clarity over how the tragedy occurred as the families of victims are seeking justice and accountability.

With files from Joel Ballard