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Iran to pay compensation for downing Ukrainian plane and if Tehran stalls Kiev will take legal action

Iran has agreed to pay compensation for its accidental shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane, although details of payment amounts have yet to be determined. Kiev said if it feels Tehran is stalling, it may launch legal action.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down in January by an Iranian air defense unit shortly after departing from Tehran. Marathon talks concerning the incident, held in Kiev this week, were hailed as constructive by both parties.

Tehran agreed to pay compensation for the loss of lives and property, but determining its scope will take time, due to “technical and legal aspects,” the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Abbas Mousavi, said.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the Iranians had pledged to conduct a “transparent and objective” investigation of the plane’s downing and to meet all its obligations under international agreements on aviation safety.

Establishing all relevant facts is necessary to determine the size of the compensation package. “The sum cannot be taken out of the blue,” the minister said.

Kuleba said he was convinced that Iran was determined to put everything right. But, he added, if Kiev feels Tehran is stalling it may look at “an alternative scenario to see compensations paid,” like going to international courts.

The Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 airliner was downed after Iran’s military mistook it for a missile targeting Tehran. All 167 passengers and nine crew members on board were killed after a surface-to-air missile hit the jet.

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The tragedy happened as Iranians were bracing for possible US retaliation for its ballistic missile strikes at US military bases in Iraq. Those strikes had been launched in a show of force and in response to the US’ assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani days earlier.

A preliminary report released by Iranian investigators earlier this month blamed a string of human errors made by its military for the tragedy.

The next round of Iran-Ukraine talks is scheduled for October.

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