June 11, 2020 / 2:07 AM / a month ago

Iran says will now send Ukraine airliner black boxes to Paris - sources

FILE PHOTO: General view of the debris of the Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752, Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020 is seen in this screen grab obtained from a social media video via REUTERS/File photo

(Reuters) - Iran told the U.N.’s aviation agency on Wednesday that it would send black boxes from a downed Ukrainian jetliner to Paris for analysis, once countries involved in the investigation agree, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The other countries involved are Ukraine, Canada and the United States. Canada previously pressed Iran to send the black boxes to France for analysis.

Iran has refused to hand over the flight recorders from the Ukraine International Airlines flight, which was shot down on Jan. 8 near Tehran by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, killing 176 people including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

In March, Iran told the U.N.’s aviation agency that it would send the black boxes to Ukraine.

But on Wednesday, a representative from Iran told a virtual meeting of the agency’s governing council that Tehran would now send the heavily damaged recorders to France’s BEA air accident investigation agency.

“Iran said they will send them to Paris soon subject to agreement of the states involved in the investigation,” said one of the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau declined to comment on discussion of the boxes being sent to Paris.

“Iran made a commitment in March. They showed an openness to transferring the black boxes but we want to see concrete action on their part to see it through,” she said.

Under U.N. rules, Iran retains overall control of the investigation while the United States and Ukraine are accredited as the countries where the jet was respectively built and operated. Canada has also played a role as the home of many of the accident’s victims.

Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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