Ukrainian Airlines demands $1 billion from Iran for deadly shooting

Iran has yet to offer fair compensation to the families of the 172 victims who died when the IRGC downed it in January 2020.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Ukraine’s national airline is suing Iran in a Canadian court for $1 billion for shooting down its passenger jet over two years ago.

A large contingent on the plane, 85 people, were Canadian citizens or permanent residents. There were also British, Swedish, Afghani and Ukrainian citizens on board.

The International Coordination and Response Group, comprised of Canada, Ukraine, Sweden and the United Kingdom, filed the lawsuit in early January in Ontario against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

A total of 172 people were killed on board Flight PS-752 from Tehran to Kyiv on January 8, 2020 when two missiles shot by IRGC personnel struck the plane as it flew from Iran.

While first denying responsibility, the mullahs eventually admitted a mistake had been made when the airliner was “misidentified as a hostile target” coming into the country instead of leaving it.

The only compensation the Iranians offered over what they deemed a tragic case of “human error” was $150,000 to each victim’s family. After Iran refused to meet for further negotiations over the last several months, the Group decided to pursue Iran under international law.

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The four countries’ efforts were supported at the G7 Summit in June, where the official communique summarizing the meeting stated, “We continue to support international efforts to hold Iran to account for the unlawful shooting-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.”

After the downing of the plane, six Canadian families brought a separate, civil lawsuit against the Iranian authorities in Ontario Superior Court.

In December 2021, the judge ruled that the incident was an intentional act of terrorism. The families, said the court, should be paid $100 million plus interest in punitive damages and another $7 million for pain, suffering, and the loss of guidance, companionship and care they suffered as a result.

The families’ lawyer, Mark Arnold, said that they will try to seize Iranian assets in Canada and in other countries in order to receive their due compensation.

Iran has rejected all foreign lawsuits regarding the flight to date, saying that only the Iranian legal system should decide such cases. It did not send a representative to the court to defend itself.

The attack was carried out a week after the United States assassinated one of Iran’s top terrorists, the IRGC’s Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani, in a drone strike outside of Iraq’s international airport, and tensions were high in Tehran.

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B’nai Brith Canada said “much more needs to be done” to punish Iran until it pays proper compensation.

“Canada should work with international partners to stop servicing and overflying Iran, thus depriving the regime of substantial funding for using the country’s air space,” said Marvin Rotrand, national director of the group’s League for Human Rights.

Bnai B’rith also supports banning all international flights to and from Iran, much as is being done to Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.