Iran considers dual nationals on downed Ukrainian plane to be Iranians, TV reports

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a candle light vigil for the victims of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS-752 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 9, 2020. — Reuters pic
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a candle light vigil for the victims of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS-752 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 9, 2020. — Reuters pic

DUBAI, Jan 21 — Iran considers the passengers with dual nationality, who were on a Ukrainian plane that was shot down accidentally earlier this month, killing all on board, to be Iranian citizens, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

Many of the 176 who perished in the disaster were Iranians with dual citizenship, which is not recognised by Iran. Canada had 57 citizens on board.

“We have informed Canada that Tehran considers dual nationals who were killed in the plane crash as Iranian citizens ... Iran is mourning their deaths,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a televised weekly news conference.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne last Wednesday dismissed the Iranian position on dual nationality as “nonsense.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday the issue had not really come up because the Iranians recognized the importance of the families' wishes.

“So far, we have assurances from them (Iran) that this will happen,” a Canadian government official said on Monday, referring to the families' wishes being respected. “Of course, we will judge them on their actions.”

The official requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

As protests erupted in Iran after the plane disaster, the British ambassador in Tehran was briefly detained. Officials said he was at an “illegal” rally, while the envoy said he was attending a vigil for victims. Britain criticised his detention.

“Iran respects all foreign diplomats in Iran as long as they do not violate international laws,” Mousavi said in reference to the detention. — Reuters

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