France, others to probe plane crash in Iran

France said on Friday it was ready to join the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran that killed all 176 people abroad, after Canada and others said the plane had been brought down by an Iranian missile, probably by mistake.

Ukraine said it could not rule out a missile strike but that had not been confirmed. Iran denied a missile brought down the Boeing 737-800 shortly after take off.

French agency BEA helped analyze data from the flight recorder of a crashed Boeing plane in Ethiopia last year. Iran’s state television showed footage purportedly of two black boxes, the voice and flight data recorders, from the Ukrainian plane.

The Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kiev from Tehran crashed on Wednesday, as Iran was on alert for a US military response hours after firing missiles at US targets in Iraq.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, citing intelligence from Canada and other sources, blamed an Iranian missile for bringing down the plane that had 63 Canadians on board, although he said it “may well have been unintentional.”

An Iranian official had earlier said France might be involved as it was one of the countries where the plane’s engines are made.

An Iranian official said on Friday it could take “one or two years” to complete the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian airliner outside Tehran with the loss of all 176 on board.

The official also said it could take one or two months to download the black boxes recovered from the crash site.

State TV earlier showed footage of the black boxes purportedly at the Iran Civil Aviation Organisation.

Iran prefers to download the black box data but could send it to Russia, Canada, France or Ukraine if needed as Tehran has agreements with those countries, the official said.

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