By Muhammet Kursun
TEHRAN, Iran (AA) - Apparently reversing a previous decision, Iran currently has no plans to send the black box from a passenger plane downed by Iranian missiles on Jan. 8 to any other country, said local media reports.
Hassan Rezaifar, in charge of accident investigations at Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, told Iran's official news agency IRNA that there is currently no decision to send the "black box" flight data recorder to any other country.
Rezaifar said the black box from the Ukrainian International Airlines flight is still in the hands of Iranian experts, and it is set to be analyzed in Iran.
After Iranian analysis, the black box may be sent to Ukraine and France, he added.
- Earlier reports
On Saturday, Rezaifar told Iran's Tasnim news agency that the "black box" will be sent to Kiev at the request of Ukrainian authorities.
"American, Canadian and French experts will try to analyze the black box in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. If it cannot be analyzed there, it will be transferred to France," he reportedly said.
On Jan. 8, all 167 passengers and nine crew members died when the plane was brought down by Iranian missiles, shortly after takeoff from an airport in Tehran.
The victims were from six countries: Iran (82), Canada (57), Ukraine (11), Sweden (10), Afghanistan (4), and the U.K. (3).
Initially, Iran said it did not shoot down the plane, but later admitted “human error” culminated in the firing of the missiles. The announcement was followed by anti-regime demonstrations in Iran.
The disaster occurred a few hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases in retaliation for the U.S. killing on Jan. 3 of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
Iran arrested several people it says were guilty of firing the missiles but experts say they are likely low-level personnel taking the blame to protect higher-ranking officials.
* Writing by Fahri Aksut