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Richmond Hill, Ont., Jan. 13: Members of the community pay their respects after the formal portion of a community vigil to honour the lives lost aboard UIA Flight 752.

Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

The latest

  • Canada is keeping up the pressure on Iran to involve outside experts in the investigation into downed Ukrainian jetliner 752, amid signs that Iran is balking at turning over the flight data recorders. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne wrote Sunday to his Iranian counterpart to stress Canada’s view that the black boxes should be sent quickly for analysis by experts in either France or Ukraine.
  • Canada’s government will give $25,000 per victim to the families of those killed on board UIA Flight 752, but still ultimately expects Iran – whose military mistakenly shot the plane down – to compensate families, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
  • Fifty-seven Canadians and 29 permanent residents of Canada died last week on the Ukrainian jetliner, Mr. Trudeau said Friday, acknowledging for the first time how many permanent residents were believed to be killed. Here is what The Globe and Mail has learned so far about the dead.
  • Also Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne was in Oman to meet his Iranian counterpart, the first face-to-face contact between Ottawa and Tehran in years. A day earlier, Mr. Champagne was in London to meet with other ministers from nations affected by the plane crash, where he said an investigation of how the plane was destroyed could take “a number of years.”
  • Several people have been arrested in Iran in connection with the shootdown, Iranian officials said Tuesday, promising to establish a special court to investigate how the jetliner was shot down. The swift arrests prompted concerns that Iran is moving too quickly and cutting off the possibility of a credible investigation.


How the crash unfolded

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport at 6:12 a.m. local time on Jan. 8, en route to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The plane was a Boeing 737-800, just over three years old, with 167 passengers and nine crew aboard. About three minutes after takeoff, its broadcast system failed and all signals stopped. Shortly after that, the plane crashed over farmland near Shahedshahr, a town on Tehran’s western outskirts. It had never been more than 8,000 feet in the air, according to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.

FLIGHT 752’s estimated path

SA-15 engagement range

12 KM

SA-15 target detection range

25 KM

IRAN

Bid Kaneh

Military

area

Khalaj Abad

Crash site

Contact lost

6:14 a.m.

Flight 752’s

path

Previous day’s

route to Kyiv

Imam Khomeini

International Airport

FLIGHT 752’s estimated path

SA-15 engagement range

12 KM

SA-15 target detection range

25 KM

IRAN

Bid Kaneh

Military

area

Khalaj Abad

Crash site

Contact lost

6:14 a.m.

Flight 752’s

path

Previous day’s

route to Kyiv

Imam Khomeini

International Airport

FLIGHT 752’s estimated path

SA-15 engagement range

12 KM

SA-15 target detection range

25 KM

IRAN

Bid Kaneh

Military

area

Khalaj Abad

Crash site

Contact lost

6:14 a.m.

Imam Khomeini

International Airport

Flight 752’s

path

Previous day’s

route to Kyiv

Reports that the plane was shot down began to appear in U.S. media began to appear a day later, many citing American officials granted anonymity. One U.S. official told The Associated Press that satellites registered heat signatures from two surface-to-air missiles, as well as an explosion and infrared emissions from the burning plane plummeting to the ground. Bystander videos obtained by media outlets appeared to show a fiery object falling from the sky, and The New York Times published a video it said showed the preceding explosion in the air.

Iran denied these reports until Jan. 11, when it took responsibility for the crash. The statement was broadcast on Iran state TV, citing the Iranian military. The armed forces were at their “highest level of readiness,” due to heightened tensions with the United States," it read, adding that “in such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit.” Iran’s President then tweeted a statement apologizing for the “disastrous mistake.”

Who is investigating?

Footage obtained from the state-run Iran Press news agency on Jan. 10 shows what Iran's civil aviation agency says is Flight 752's black box.

IRAN PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

The plane

Ukraine and Iran agreed to investigate the crash together, and investigators from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board were also granted access. Iran has recovered the Ukrainian jetliner’s two “black boxes,” the on-board devices that record cockpit conversations and instrument data. Generally, a plane’s manufacturer (in this case, Chicago-based Boeing) reviews these when a crash occurs, but Iran says it won’t hand them over to Boeing. Instead, Iranian aviation officials say they will download the data themselves, a process they said could take one to two months. Ukrainian investigators also have access to the boxes, according to the country’s foreign minister.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iranian presidency/AFP via Getty Images

The people responsible

Soon after the Iranian government’s admission of responsibility, it launched a wave of arrests and announced the creation of a special court to investigate the shootdown. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told Iranian media on Jan. 14 that “a number of people” were arrested in the preceding 72 hours, but didn’t offer details of the charges they faced. “It’s not just the one who pressed the button. There are others, and I want this matter to be explained to people honestly…. The whole world will be watching our trial,” Mr. Rouhani said.

How surface-to-air missile systems work

The likely weapon that brought down the plane was the Russian-made Tor-M1 missile system, known in NATO code as SA-15. Russia sold several such systems to Iran in the mid-2000s. It is a type of surface-to-air missile, or SAM, system, that locks on to airborne targets in a specific surveillance zone. Once it finds a target, it points it out to a human operator who must then press a button to fire, Michael Duitsman, a research associate with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California, explained to The Globe. But normally, civilian aircraft transmit an “Identification Friend or Foe” signal that the Tor-M1 is equipped to receive and recognize. It’s unclear why such technology didn’t prevent the disaster.

Hours before the plane took off, Iran launched missiles at military bases in Iraq, its promised retaliation for the U.S. killing of an Iranian general at Baghdad’s airport days earlier. Defences around Tehran were reinforced and air-defence units were on highest alert, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, told Iran’s state TV. The Ukrainian jetliner was mistaken for a cruise missile and the operator had 10 seconds to decide whether to fire, Gen. Hajizadeh. Not only was a missile launched, according to video footage of the shootdown, it appears the operator fired two missiles 10 seconds apart, the second when the plane was changing course to go back to the airport.

how the sa-15 gauntlet (tor-m1) system works

The Russian-built missile system is a mobile, integrated air-defence system designed for engaging aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided aerial bombs and remotely piloted vehicles. It is believed Iran has 29 of these systems.

COCKPIT

Reports say the missile detonated underneath the cockpit

When a target is engaged, a 9M330 or 9M331 missile is launched from the vehicle and is propelled at speeds approaching Mach 2.8

The missile detonates near the target, hitting it with shrapnel

MISSILE

RADAR

Target acquisition

TURRET

Unmanned, carries eight missiles

3.5 m

RADAR

Frontal tracking

5.1 m

7.5 m

CREW

3.3 m

Three

operators

One

driver

how the sa-15 gauntlet

(tor-m1) system works

The Russian-built missile system is a mobile, integrated air-defence system designed for engaging aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided aerial bombs and remotely piloted vehicles. It is believed Iran has 29 of these systems.

COCKPIT

Reports say the missile detonated underneath the cockpit

When a target is engaged, a 9M330 or 9M331 missile is launched from the vehicle and is propelled at speeds approaching Mach 2.8

The missile detonates near the target, hitting it with shrapnel

MISSILE

RADAR

Target acquisition

TURRET

Unmanned, carries eight missiles

3.5 m

RADAR

Frontal tracking

5.1 m

7.5 m

CREW

3.3 m

Three

operators

One

driver

how the sa-15 gauntlet (tor-m1) system works

The Russian-built missile system is a mobile, integrated air-defence system designed for engaging aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided aerial bombs and remotely piloted vehicles. It is believed Iran has 29 of these systems.

COCKPIT

Reports say the missile detonated underneath the cockpit

When a target is engaged, a 9M330 or 9M331 missile is launched from the vehicle and is propelled at speeds approaching Mach 2.8

The missile detonates near the target, hitting it with shrapnel

MISSILE

RADAR

Target acquisition

TURRET

Unmanned, carries eight missiles

3.5 m

5.1 m

RADAR

Frontal tracking

7.5 m

CREW

3.3 m

Three

operators

One

driver

sa-15’s missile engagement zone

Often deployed in groups of four to increase

sector coverage and co-ordinated by a mobile

command centre, the SA-15 can track multiple

high-speed targets and launch its radar-guided

missiles in ten seconds upon confirmation by

the operator.

Ten targets can be

tracked at one time

Up to 48 targets

can be detected

Two targets can

be engaged at once

Missile

altitude:

6 km

SA-15 engages targets

within range

Engagement

range:

1.5 to 12 km

Detection

range:

25 km

Target acquisition

radar has 32-degree

sector view

Note: Not to scale

JOHN SOPINSKI AND MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE

AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CON-

TRIBUTORS; HIU; REUTERS; FLIGHTRADAR24; 3D

WAREHOUSE; ARMYRECOGNITION.COM; PIETRO

BATACCHI, RIVISTA ITALIANA difesa

sa-15’s missile engagement zone

Often deployed in groups of four to increase sector cover

age and co-ordinated by a mobile command centre, the

SA-15 can track multiple high-speed targets and launch

its radar-guided missiles in ten seconds upon confirma-

tion by the operator.

Ten targets can be

tracked at one time

Up to 48 targets

can be detected

Two targets can

be engaged at once

Missile

altitude:

6 km

SA-15 engages targets

within range

Engagement

range:

1.5 to 12 km

Target acquisition

radar has 32-degree

sector view

Detection

range:

25 km

Note: Not to scale

JOHN SOPINSKI AND MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL,

SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU;

REUTERS; FLIGHTRADAR24; 3D WAREHOUSE; ARMYRECOG-

NITION.COM; PIETRO BATACCHI, RIVISTA ITALIANA difesa

sa-15’s missile engagement zone

Often deployed in groups of four to increase sector coverage and co-ordinated by

a mobile command centre, the SA-15 can track multiple high-speed targets and

launch its radar-guided missiles in ten seconds upon confirmation by the operator.

Up to 48 targets

can be detected

Ten targets can be

tracked at one time

Missile

altitude:

6 km

Two targets can

be engaged at once

SA-15 engages targets

within range

Engagement

range:

1.5 to 12 km

Target acquisition

radar has 32-degree

sector view

Detection

range:

25 km

Note: Not to scale

JOHN SOPINSKI AND MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; REUTERS; FLIGHTRADAR24; 3D WAREHOUSE; ARMYRECOGNITION.COM; PIETRO BATACCHI, RIVISTA ITALIANA difesa

Some of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash, clockwise from top left: Ghanimat Azhdari; Daria Mousavi, 14; Pedram Mousavi, 47; Mojgan Daneshmand, 43; Dorina Mousavi, 9; Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani, 29; Forough Khadem, 38; Sharieh Faghihi, 58; Suzan Golbabapour, 49; Saba Saadat, 21; Sara Saadat, 23; Shekoufeh Choupannejad, 56.

Handout

The victims

Of the 176 people killed, 138 were destined for Canada. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said that the Canadian death toll is at least 57, and that the death toll number is still fluid. However, scores of others appear to have lived, worked or studied in Canada. Globe and Mail reporters have pieced together profiles of dozens of the Canadians who died, and will to continue to update the list in this interactive guide. These are a few of the tragic stories that have emerged:

  • Families travelling together: The passengers included several couples travelling with children. Two University of Alberta engineering professors, Mojgan Daneshmand and Pedram Mousavi, were among the many members of Edmonton’s tight-knit Iranian community who died aboard the plane. With them were their two daughters, 14-year-old Dara Mousavi and nine-year-old Dorina Mousavi. A young family from Ajax, Ont. – father Hiva Molani, mother Evin Arsalani, and one-year-old daughter Kurdia Molani – were all killed, Ms. Arsalani’s brother confirmed.
  • Newlyweds travelling together: Siavash Ghafouri-Azar and Sara Mamani were in Iran to get married, and were both on the plane when it crashed, Mr. Gafouri-Azar’s thesis advisor at Concordia University said. Another newlywed couple, Arash Pourzarabi and Pouneh Gorji, were on their way back to Edmonton together.
  • Newlyweds travelling apart: Some of the victims had just been married in Iran but were leaving their spouses behind. Fareed Arasteh, a PhD student in molecular genetics at Carleton University, was on the plane, but his new bride Maral Gorginpour was not; she was going to join him in Canada later. Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani, an engineering PhD student at the University of Waterloo, also left behind a new wife, Hanieh, who had planned to come to Canada in February.
  • Student lives lost: The crash killed doctoral and graduate students on break from several Canadian schools, including the universities of Alberta, Guelph, Waterloo and Ottawa, as well as Carleton, Saint Mary’s and Western universities. Some of their home campuses lowered flags to half-mast in their honour.
Watch: Hundreds attended a pair of vigils in Toronto on Jan. 9 to mark the lives lost in the crash. The Globe and Mail

What does this mean for Canada-Iran relations?

Canada has a large and fast-growing Iranian diaspora, with more than 210,000 residents and more than 11,000 visa-bearing students. But relations between Tehran and Ottawa are far from warm: Canada closed its embassy in Iran in 2012, citing security reasons, and the countries have had no official diplomatic ties since.

The diplomatic chill, and long-standing anti-nuclear sanctions against Iran, are among the reasons why so many Iranian-Canadians were on board a flight to Ukraine in the first place. There are no direct flights between Iranian and Canadian destinations, and Tehran-Kyiv is one of the cheapest routes to connect to flights to Canada. It’s also the reason why Canada’s foreign minister had to ask his Iranian counterpart to send people to Tehran for consular services; there were no permanent staff there for that purpose.

Now that the missile theory is confirmed, it raises urgent questions about Canada’s future relationship with Iran and its role in the cold war between Washington and Tehran. It’s unclear how either country will answer to Ottawa for the military escalations that eventually led to Flight 752′s destruction. For now, the Canadian government’s focus is on accountability and compensation. To start with, Canada is giving families $25,000 per citizen or permanent resident killed aboard the plane. Canada has also joined a group of nations that lost citizens on the plane – along with Ukraine, Sweden, Britain and Afghanistan – to co-ordinate a response to the disaster. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne met with his counterparts in that group in London on Jan. 16, but suggested afterward that an investigation could take years, and dodged questions about what if anything Canada could do to compel Iran to pay damages.

Edmonton, Jan. 12: A mourner weeps as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sits beside him during a memorial service at the Saville Community Sports Centre.

WALTER TYCHNOWICZ/AFP via Getty Images

Commentary and analysis

Robyn Urback: Trudeau’s leadership stands out in a week of national pain and loss

Campbell Clark: Investigation into Flight 752's crash will only find answers if Iran lets it

Andrew Coyne: If Iran did shoot down the plane, what can we do about it? Nothing

Dennis Horak: Now more than ever, Canada needs to resume diplomatic ties with Iran

Ashley Nunes: Air safety should never be politicized. But it is

Editorial: For the families of Flight 752 victims, the only thing that will matter is the truth


Compiled by Globe staff

With reports from Kathryn Blaze Baum, Mark MacKinnon, Adrian Morrow, The Associated Press, The Canadian Press and Reuters


Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

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