Ottawa families of PS752 crash victims disappointed by Iranian report

Members of Ottawa’s Iranian community were disappointed by a recent report from the investigators of the plane crash that killed 55 Canadians in January.

Audio from black box was downloaded Monday in France, but families worry about condition of the data

Roja Azadian's husband, Mohsen Ahmadipour, was supposed to join her on Flight PS752, but didn't board the plane because of a ticket mix-up. Ahmadipour said Iran wants to paint tragedy as a mistake in its recent report. (Facebook)

Members of Ottawa's Iranian community were disappointed by a recent report from the Iranian investigators of the plane crash that killed 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents.

Masoud Pourjam's brother, Mansour, was killed when Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down near Tehran last January. 

"After six months, the regime put their best foot forward," Pourjam told CBC Radio's All In A Day last week. "And they come up with this fabrication." 

At least 8 people with Ottawa ties on plane

The report from Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, released on July 11, comes months after the deadly Jan. 8 crash.

Iranian authorities initially denied responsibility for the crash, but after Western nations presented extensive evidence that the plane had been shot down, said it mistakenly shot down the flight with missiles shortly after takeoff.

Iranian investigators now blame a misalignment of a radar system and miscommunication between an air defence operator and commanders for the shooting down of the plane by Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Mansour Pourjam lived in Barrhaven. He was an alumnus of Carleton University's biology program and worked as a technician at an Ottawa denture clinic. 

At least eight of the 176 victims of the attack had ties to Canada's capital.

"The report raises more questions for the victims' families because they didn't clearly specify which kind of mistakes had happened," said Mohsen Ahmadipour, whose wife, Roja Azadian, perished in the crash. "They just said they calibrated wrongly the air-defence systems.

"They just want to paint the tragedy as a mistake," he continued. "Because if they accept that it [didn't] happen accidently, they have to respond to all the world." 

Ahmadipour was supposed to join his wife on Flight PS752, but didn't board the plane because of a ticket mix-up. 

I was expecting this kind of response from them, but I really disappointed.- Masoud Pourjam, brother of crash victim

The plane's black box is now in Paris, where it will be examined by international investigators. 

Audio from the cockpit was successfully downloaded Monday, according to the chair of Canada's Transportation Safety Board, but it's still not clear if the data is salvageable.

France's aviation accident investigation agency is considered one of the best in the world at reading flight recorders, but Canadian officials have warned the findings would likely be anticlimactic.

Countries needs to 'put pressure' on Iran: Mohsen

Some, including Masoud, worry the box has been tampered with in the past six months. He also worries about the box's condition, which was recovered from the wreckage six months ago, but believes that sending it to France is a positive development.

He hopes Canada plays a role in the investigation.

"All the countries involved in the matter … they have to make a coalition and put more pressure to Iran to find the truth and to help victims' families get more information," he said.

Masoud said he wasn't optimistic the report would result in any concrete action since he doesn't trust the regime in Iran.

"I was expecting this kind of response from them, but I'm really disappointed."

Mansour Pourjam, an alumnus of Carleton University's biology program, died on board Flight PS752 on the Jan. 8, 2020 plane crash in Tehran, Iran. (Mansour Pourjam/Facebook)

Still, he said he can't shake the feeling that, somehow, the truth will come out about his brother's death. 

"I don't know. I have a feeling, or I'm cheating myself to pass the days," he said. 

Mohsen hoped Iran would tell the truth in its report, but now believes the regime is hiding something. 

He said the Ottawa community wants answers, not just for themselves, but for the safety of others travelling through Iranian airspace. 

"For me, I lost my wife, my best friend," Mohsen said. 

"I have to try and find the truth," he continued. "Just for my confidence. Just for my love. For everything we had. We had a lot of plans for our future, but all of them are gone."

Reported from a segment on CBC's All In A Day

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