Manitoba

Fiancé of Manitoba scientist killed in Tehran plane crash wants 'credible investigation'

A Manitoba man who was engaged to one of the victims on board Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 is calling on Canada to initiate an investigation into why a missile hit the jetliner in January, killing 176 people.

Iranian authorities blame misaligned missile battery and miscommunication for Jan. 8 crash

Kourosh Doustshenas's fiance Dr. Forough Khadem was one of the victims of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752. He's critical of Iranian authorities investigating the crash and wants an international criminal investigation. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

A Manitoba man who was engaged to one of the victims on board Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 is calling on Canada to initiate a criminal investigation after a missile hit the jetliner in January, killing 176 people.

"I will not rest the rest of my life till I find the truth along with other families, and hopefully we get the justice for them," said Kourosh Doustshenas on Sunday.

"They did not deserve to die like this."

His fiancée, Dr. Forough Khadem, died along with 54 other Canadians.

A report released on Saturday by Iran's Civil Aviation Organization comes months after the Jan. 8 crash.

Iranian investigators are blaming a misaligned missile battery and miscommunication between soldiers and their commanders for the Revolutionary Guard shooting down the plane near Tehran.

WATCH | Iran blames missile strike on bad communication, poor alignment:

Iran blames Flight 752 crash on miscommunication, poor alignment

2 years ago
Duration 2:02
Iranian investigators are blaming a misaligned missile battery and miscommunication between soldiers and their commanders for the Revolutionary Guard shooting down Ukrainian jetliner in January, killing 176 people — including 55 Canadians.

Authorities had initially denied responsibility, only shifting their message days later after other countries presented extensive evidence that Iran had shot down the plane.

"This is [a] continuation of the lies and deceit they have been doing, and we don't believe anything, what they say, because they're not credible. They have lost their credibility," Doustshenas said.

"If they have nothing to hide why are they holding the black boxes for six months?"

'This is not simply an error'

Doustshenas, who is also the president of the Victims Families PS752 Association, is calling for a "credible investigation" involving international bodies, and he wants Canada to pursue a criminal investigation as well.

"The [Iranian] regime has worked very hard the past six months to divert all attention to the black boxes and meanwhile they're trying to create their own narratives that this was just a human error which is not true," he said.

"This is not a simply an error, this has to be pre-planned at many levels and they have to prove what they're saying, but they're not coming up with any proof."

Iranian investigators are blaming a misaligned missile battery and miscommunication between soldiers and their commanders for the Revolutionary Guard shooting down flight PS752 near Tehran. (Reuters)

Doustshenas says he and Khadem were planning on getting married in June and were about to start their new life when she died.

"She was a beautiful, a smart very accomplished scientist. She was ready to help whoever needed help and she was always [smiling]," she said.

"She was the love of my life. I never imagined at this stage of my life I'm going to find someone so beautiful and so loving and then to be snatched brutally. It's devastating my life."

'Handicapped' in dealing with crash

In the wake of Iran's report, former foreign affairs minister and Manitoba member of parliament Lloyd Axworthy says Canada should have a representative in the country's capital to help get answers and challenge the report. 

"I think we've been handicapped in dealing with the consequences, the outcomes of the crash itself in terms of compensation, in terms of being able to make representations because we don't have any diplomatic or consul representations in Tehran," he said in a Skype conversation with CBC News on Sunday.

Officials in Iran say the country will transfer the plane's black boxes to France, and investigators from Canada and other countries are going next week to see if any data can be retrieved.

"When we're not there we're simply relying upon other governments to do the lifting for us and I think that's why it's important to get involved," Axworthy said.

He added Canada needs to restore its diplomatic relationship with Iran, which stopped in 2012, and was something the Liberals promised to do if elected. 

In a statement from Global Affairs Canada, the federal government said it's calling for Iran to act immediately to conduct a thorough investigation.

"Canada will continue to actively work with its international partners to hold the Iranian regime to account and to ensure Iran follows through on its commitments, including the download of the data and voice recorders at France's Civil Aviation Safety Investigation and Analysis Bureau on July 20th," the statement said.

"Canada and its partners will continue working to ensure transparency, accountability, justice, compensation and closure for the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy."

Doustshenas says he won't rest until he gets justice for his fiancée.

"I have no life other than pursuing the truth and finding justice for her and others." 

With files from Austin Grabish

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