Iran sends black boxes of crashed Ukrainian passenger plane to France

Iran has sent the black box of crashed Ukrainian passenger plane which Tehran accidentally downed to France.

All 176 people on board were killed when the plane was hit by two missiles shortly after take-off on 8 January.

READ: Ukrainian Boeing passenger plane crashes in Iran, 176 people dead

Iran’s deputy foreign minister said the black boxes were taken to Paris on Friday and would be read on Monday.

Iran initially denied responsibility for the incident, which came amid heightened tensions with the US.

But the country admitted fault days later, after Western intelligence officials said evidence pointed to Iranian involvement.

READ: Iran admits to shooting down Ukrainian passenger plane unintentionally

Tehran said the Ukraine International Airlines flight had been mistaken for a cruise missile, in what President Hassan Rouhani described as an “unforgivable mistake”.

Iran’s air defences had been on high alert at the time. Hours before the crash, the country had fired ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike in Baghdad.

Under global aviation rules, Iran has the right to lead the investigation, but manufacturers are typically involved and experts say few countries are capable of analysing black boxes.

Iran had refused to release the black box to the US, where the plane’s manufacturer Boeing is based.

The recordings will now be analysed by French experts. Canada, which lost 55 citizens in the crash, and Ukraine have said they will send their own experts to take part in the investigation.

READ: New video shows Ukrainian plane struck by two Iranian missiles