Canada trying to exploit the grief of Flight 752 victims' families, Iran says
Tehran accuses federal government of politicizing issue for domestic advantage
Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry accused Canada on Monday of exploiting the grief of families of those killed during the downing of Flight PS752 in Iran early this year.
Speaking at a news conference in Tehran, ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said Canada wants to make a "business" out of the families' suffering and that Canada's actions have been politicized and without legal basis.
"Up to this day, Canada has done everything they could to intervene and get in the way of the natural course of events to finding out what exactly happened mechanically," Khatibzadeh said in a video obtained and translated by CBC News.
"It is very regrettable that Canada is using the grief of these families ... to take advantage and attempt to use it in their own domestic politics."
Iran should not be in charge of probe: Goodale report
Khatibzadeh was responding to a report released last week by the federal government's special adviser on the issue, Ralph Goodale. In the report, Goodale argued that Iran should not be left in charge of the investigation, since it was the Iranian military's actions that led to the crash.
"In the circumstances of this case, as known thus far, there are indications of incompetence, recklessness and wanton disregard for innocent human life," Goodale wrote. He went on to criticize what he called Iran's lack of transparency around the investigation, including the six months it took to read out the plane's black box flight data recorders.
"The party responsible for the situation is investigating itself, largely in secret," the report said. "That does not inspire confidence or trust."
The report comes just a few weeks ahead of the one-year anniversary of the incident, in which Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan 8., killing all 176 people aboard, including 138 people with ties to Canada.
WATCH: Goodale's report criticizes Iran's investigation, citing lack of transparency:
Minister needs to 'understand his boundaries'
During Monday's remarks, Khatibzadeh warned Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne to "understand his boundaries" and that Canada's government should be "accountable for their own actions."
He said the federal government has worked to cut off the flow of medicine, resources and financial assets to Iran and therefore had "no business positioning itself behind a podium to lecture others on human rights."
"I invite the Canadian foreign minister to understand the basics of diplomacy. To understand his boundaries, his place, and to only speak within those four walls. Otherwise, he will receive a different answer [from us]," Khatibzadeh said.
Canada has placed economic sanctions on Iran that include prohibitions on exports related to nuclear technology, missiles and other types of military material, as well as assets and services related to the prohibited export goods. It also froze the assets of some Iranian individuals and entities.
WATCH: Champagne disputes Iran when it says human error led plane to be shot down:
Champagne told CBC News Network's Power & Politics last week that he was questioning everything Iran said at this point and that he did not believe the crash was the result of "human error" — but he did not specify what he did believe was to blame.
After initially denying any wrongdoing, Iran eventually admitted responsibility for the plane crash but has maintained "a lengthy chain of human errors and other deficiencies resulted in the mistaken firing of the Iranian missiles."
In a statement, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the government's priority has always been the families of the victims, and it was "acting quickly to address the recommendations in Special Advisor Goodale's report."
"The Special Advisor has posed vital questions that Iran should answer comprehensively, with supporting evidence, to demonstrate the credibility of its investigations, and to convince the international civil aviation community that Iran can provide a safe airspace," the statement said.