Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne addresses a news conference, after a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group to discuss the shooting down of a Ukrainian plane in Iran, at the High Commission of Canada, in London, on Jan. 16, 2020.


Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Thursday that the investigation into the downing of Flight 752 could take years to complete and that the “eyes of the international community” are on Iran. But he was vague about what action Canada and other countries could take to force Iran to co-operate.

“This is a process that will take a number of months and even a number of years,” he said in London. “We are judging Iran every day, demand by demand. Yes, we have good first steps from Iran … this is a long process, so our vision or our assessment is based on the state of facts today.”

Mr. Champagne spoke after a meeting at the Canadian High Commission with foreign ministers from Britain, Ukraine, Sweden and Afghanistan. They make up the International Coordination and Response Group for families of the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which was shot down by the Iranian military on Jan. 8 shortly after taking off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board died, including at least 57 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Britons and four Afghans.

Story continues below advertisement

Heading into the meeting, Canada had been arguing for official standing in the crash probe, which is being led by Iran. Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters this week that Iran was co-operating with two Canadian investigators on the scene, but he wanted Canada to have a greater role. “We will be sending very, very strong messages to Iran,” Mr. Garneau said. "President Rouhani has made some comment to the effect that they want to co-operate, but of course the question on everybody’s mind is: Will they deliver on that promise?”

Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Vadym Prystaiko, told The Globe and Mail this week that the five countries of the response group should launch a separate investigation in parallel with the Iranians to ensure transparency.

Canadian government may offer interim compensation to families of Flight 752 victims

But on Thursday, the group indicated it will see how far Iran goes in co-operating and taking responsibility for the tragedy. In a statement released after the meeting, the group called on Iran to provide “closure, accountability, transparency and justice for the families and loved ones of all the victims.” Mr. Champagne said the grieving nations want Iran to conduct a thorough investigation with international co-operation. They are also demanding that Iran hold those responsible to justice and recognize its duties “towards the families of the victims and other parties – including compensation.”

He sidestepped questions about what tools the group could use to force Iran to comply, particularly when it comes to paying compensation. “Today is not the day for blame. Today is the day for answers,” he said. “We judge [Iran’s] co-operation on a daily basis.”

So far, he said, Iran has co-operated in issuing visas to investigators from Canada and other countries. Iranian officials are also working with other countries in identifying and repatriating the remains of those who died, he added. “We will judge Iran when it comes to the investigation as to whether international experts will be allowed to join,” he said.

Iran’s policy of not recognizing the second passports of dual nationals has led to negotiations over how the remains of dozens of Iranian-Canadians will be treated, and ultimately where victims are buried. The RCMP are creating DNA profiles in Canada of victims to help Iran identify remains but has not received a formal invitation to help out, The Canadian Press reported.

When asked what pressure the five countries could exert if Iran failed to meet the group’s demands, Mr. Champagne said, “It’s called the international community. The eyes of the international community are on Iran today.”

Story continues below advertisement

As the investigation on the ground continued, there was confusion Thursday as to the whereabouts of the plane’s black boxes, which contain critical flight-data information. Conflicting reports indicated the boxes had either been sent to France for decoding or were still in Iran. Mr. Champagne said the confusion demonstrates the need for a transparent investigation with international participation.

The Canadian government is considering offering short-term financial support to the families of the Canadian victims. Ottawa would then be responsible for going after Iran for compensation after the completion of an investigation. Just how Ottawa would recover the money remains unclear, particularly if Iran balks.

The five-member group has also turned to the Netherlands for advice on how to deal with Iran. Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok attended Thursday’s meeting and offered insights into how the Netherlands handled the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed 298 people. That flight was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014. A Dutch-led team of investigators concluded that the plane had been hit by a Russian-made missile fired by Russian-backed separatists. The investigators charged four men with murder – three Russians and a Ukrainian. Russia has denied having any role in the tragedy, and there is little chance any of the men will be arrested.

“We have a lot of experience in dealing with the aftermath of such an experience,” Mr. Blok told reporters before the meeting.

Before the meeting began, Mr. Champagne and the other foreign ministers lit a candle at the High Commission in memory of those who died. The candle was surrounded by the flags of the countries and a list of the victims’ names.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies