Family says government DNA test confirms identity of remains returned from Iran plane crash site

A family member whose loved one died in the downing of a jet in Iran earlier this month, said the DNA-test he requested from the Canada government confirms the remains were correctly repatriated. The DNA testing had raised questions about if it could cause tension with Iran.
A Canadian who lost a loved one in the Iran place crash asked the Canadian government to DNA-test the repatriated remains. The family says the results came back a match. (Rozenn Nicolle/CBC/Radio-Canada)

A family member of a Canadian who died in the destruction of a jet in Iran earlier this month said a DNA test has confirmed his family received the correct human remains from the crash site.

The man, who has asked not to be identified, told CBC News last week he suspected Iran hadn't correctly identified the remains because the family received only two personal items from the crash site: a credit card and passport. He said he feared that his relative's remains were still in Iran.

He said Global Affairs Canada agreed to arranged a DNA test in Canada through the RCMP. 

"I couldn't live if I didn't ask," he said. "The DNA passed. They found a match. That's good that I don't need to be torn apart between Tehran and here."

CBC News agreed not to identify the man because he said he feared repercussions against his family members still in Iran if he spoke out against the government. 

Iran admitted its military mistakenly shot down the jet shortly after it took off from Tehran on Jan. 8, just hours after Iran's forces fired missiles at Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed. That attack was retaliation for an American drone strike that killed a high-ranking Iranian military general in Iraq.

Of the 176 people killed in the plane crash, 57 were Canadian citizens and 29 were permanent residents.

Canada is still pushing for more access to Iran's investigation into the plane crash last month in Tehran. (Ebrahim Noroozi/The Associated Press)

The repatriation process wrapped up last week. Canada helped repatriate 13 victims' remains based on families' wishes. 

Dennis Horak, Canada's last head of mission to Iran, said Thursday that the Iranians would have been "quite angry" had the DNA test concluded the returned remains were not the right ones. He said Tehran would have been "very defensive" and might have accused Canadian officials of trying to embarrass Iran. 

Canada is still trying to get full access to the crash investigation to ensure it's thorough and transparent. It's been more than three weeks since the crash and Iran still hasn't said where it plans to download and analyze the plane's flight recorders. Two Transportation Safety Board investigators in Canada are set to deploy to help Iran work on the flight recorders.


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