More Iranian visas granted for Canadian officials after plane crash: minister

WATCH: Any future discussions on diplomatic relations with Iran to come at a later date: Champagne

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story stated six additional visas have been approved, in fact, Iran has issued eight more visas for Canadian officials.

Iran has issued additional visas to Canadian officials after it announced on Saturday that its military shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 176 on board.

In an series of tweets on Sunday, foreign affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said an additional eight visas had been approved by Iran on Sunday.

‘Furious’ Trudeau says Iran must take full responsibility for shooting down plane

Champagne said on Saturday, three members of an advanced contingent of the Standing Rapid Development Team arrived in Tehran to establish a “base of operations for the Canadian government.”

“We expect the Standing Rapid Development Team (SRDT) to be fully in place to do their important work by January 14,” he said in a tweet.

Champagne said by Sunday morning, visas had been approved for six other members of the team currently stationed in Ankara and for two experts from the Transportation Safety Board.

“They will travel to Iran tomorrow,” he said.

A second team from the TSB — investigators specializing in downloading and analyzing aircraft recorder data — will be deployed at a later date, the agency said. The TSB said it would also be providing an update on its role in the crash investigation at 2 p.m. ET Monday.

A spokesman for Champagne told the Canadian Press that the officials “will be there to provide consular assistance to the families of the victims, including supporting repatriation of remains, to help identify victims and to assist in the investigation.”

The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and demanded a “full and complete” investigation be conducted.

Trudeau said he told Rouhani it was “absolutely necessary” that Canada be a part of the investigation process, and that he expects “full cooperation” from Iran.

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Trudeau said while there have been calls for a credible, international investigation from the very beginning, the fact that Iran has now taken responsibility for the downing of the aircraft means that it is “likely that they will be full participants and fully allow a credible, independent, international investigation with all partners involved.”

“We still have work to ensure that happens, but the question of responsibility I think takes us a step forward towards truly having a very credible and thorough investigation,” he said.

On Saturday the International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight 752 held a call with participants from Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom.

The group’s focus remained on closure, accountability, transparency and justice — including compensation — for the families and loved ones of the victims, according to a readout of the call released by the Canadian government.

Ukrainian aircraft shot down unintentionally due to ‘human error,’ Iran says

“They will continue working with partners around the world to ensure a thorough investigation and also expect full cooperation from Iranian authorities, including with the issuance of visas, repatriation of the remains of victims and active involvement in all aspects of the investigation,” the readout says.

Global Affairs Canada announced Sunday night via Twitter that the government has sent consular officials to five major cities across Canada.

“Canada has deployed consular officials to #Vancouver, #Edmonton, #Winnipeg, #Montreal and #Toronto to act as a personal point of support for family members of Canadian victims of Flight #PS752,” the tweet read.

READ MORE: ‘Mixed emotions:’ Loved ones of Iran plane crash victims angry, shocked jet was shot down

Earlier on Saturday, Iran admitted that its military “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard, including 57 Canadians, after repeatedly denying it was responsible.

In a statement, Iran’s military said “human error” was to blame for the incident.

Iran’s statement said the country’s military was on high alert due to “unprecedented threats” from the U.S., which had ordered a strike that killed top-ranking Iranian military officer, Gen. Qassam Soleimani, on Jan. 3.

According to the statement, the airliner was approaching a “sensitive military base” belonging to the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps after takeoff.

In a tweet, Rouhani said that the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

-With a file from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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