Reinsalu calls on EU support for independent Iran plane crash investigation

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) at an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday. January 10, 2019.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) at an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday. January 10, 2019. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) attended an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday, where he called on the European Union to support an independent and transparent investigation of the deadly crash of a civilian passenger jet in Tehran on Wednesday.

New circumstances were coming to light concerning the crash, which killed all 176 passengers and crew on board, and the families of the victims deserve clarity based on evidence, Reinsalu said according to a press release.

"For this to happen, the team of Ukrainian experts needs Iran's full support and access to evidence at the crash cite," he said. "We call on member states to exchange information on this issue. If international rules and norms on civilian aviation safety are not followed, we should condemn it in the strongest terms and demand accountability."

Reinsalu also stressed that following Iran's recent missile strikes in Iraq, Estonia considers it crucial to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East by diplomatic means, in line with international law and transatlantic unity. There have been some signs of de-escalation, however, serious negotiations between parties are crucial for easing tensions and stopping nuclear proliferation, he added.

"Estonia considers it regrettable that Iran has promised to stop complying with the nuclear agreement," the minister said. "Western partners must come to an agreement on how to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear state, and these discussions still lay ahead of us."

He also condemned Iran's strikes on coalition bases in Iraq as well as attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, adding that Estonia understand the U.S.' right to protect its citizens and coalition partners against potential attacks.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell invited EU ministers to discuss the situation in connection with U.S. and Iranian strikes in Iraq as well as find ways to de-escalate tensions and stabilize the situation.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport for Kyiv on Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board.

In a departure from prior rejections of blame, Iran has recently admitted to "unintentionally" shooting down the plane, with President Hassan Rouhani, calling the crash an "unforgivable mistake," stating that an investigation had found that "missiles fired due to human error" were to blame for the downing, the BBC and other sources report


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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