Edmonton

'It's disturbing': Edmonton's Iranian community reacts to news Iran may have shot down airliner

If an Iranian missile did bring down the plane, “it's awful that 176 people had to perish at the hands of a ridiculous mistake by that regime," Payman Parseyan said Thursday.

'An Iranian government shooting down a plane full of our friends, our community members, fellow Canadians'

Passengers' belongings at the site where the Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport on the outskirts of Tehran. (Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA/Reuters)

A prominent member of Edmonton's tight-knit Iranian community says he would be angered — but not surprised — if it's proven that an Iranian missile brought down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 people aboard.

"Probably two emotions," Payman Parseyan told CBC News Thursday. "One would be anger and one would be lack of surprise [that] the Iranian government would let this happen."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians Thursday that intelligence now indicates the Ukrainian passenger aircraft that crashed outside of Tehran on Wednesday, killing everyone on board — including 138 people destined for Canada — was shot down by an Iranian missile.

"We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile," Trudeau said during a news conference in Ottawa, adding that it might have been an unintentional act.

Thirty-one Albertans died in the crash, nearly all of them from Edmonton.

Parseyan, who was born in Iran and grew up in Edmonton, said he's angry that a dispute between Iran and the United States led to "maybe a heightened sense of defence" that somehow resulted in the downing of the plane.

"An Iranian government shooting down a plane full of our friends, our community members, fellow Canadians — it's disturbing, it's terrible," he said.

"This plane, you know, was filled with our community, and the Iran government shot it down. There has to be some accountability, there has to be some answers."

Payman Parseyan says whatever the cause of Wednesday's tragic air crash, the victims are lost forever. "And that's something that we have to, sooner or later, come to cope with." (David Bajer/CBC)

He said if an Iranian missile did bring down the plane, "it's awful that 176 people had to perish at the hands of a ridiculous mistake by that regime."

If it was an accident, he said he'd like to see the Canadian government stand up for the victims "in the same manner that they would stand up for them if, you know, a terrorist act occurred or was carried out.

"One way or another, we lost our community members. So the first thing first is, our thoughts are with our community members.

"Whether that plane went down by whatever means, they're not coming back. And that's something that we have to, sooner or later, come to cope with. But it's disheartening, you know, hearing that news."

With files from Erin Collins

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.