The read-out of the black boxes of Flight PS752 will start from today, July 20. What must have been done in the month of January has been obstructed and delayed until July.
The story of the black boxes is long-winded. In the initial press releases, Iran announced that the black boxes were found undamaged. Yet after a month, on February 19, Iran’s Defense Minister said that the black boxes are damaged and that Iran is attempting to repair them. On March 11, Iran promised at the ICAO session to send the flight recorder for read-out, but the two-week deadline passed and nothing was delivered. Later, Iran contacted the involved countries – remarkably at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis – to invite them to immediately come to Ukraine, but such a trip was not possible at that stage due to travel restrictions. Using this tactic, Iran attempted to distract attention from its own non-compliances and failures.
Now after much wrangling and hampering, and after Iran has pressed its narrative of reducing this multi-layered attack to a mere “human error”, July 20 has arrived and the black boxes are finally delivered to France. The families of victims had requested to participate as observers in the investigation process. Our requests were denied.
The analysis of the black boxes is only the first step of the investigations into this atrocity. We are eager to find out what Iran meant by “repairing” the black boxes, and we do not know what information will be revealed. Nonetheless, any analysis conducted by Iranian government is unacceptable. We seek explanations for much more fundamental issues, and Iran must be held accountable and answer all questions.
The narrative of “human error” that has been repeatedly quoted in the media is only a claim that Iran has postulated through its dubious reports. There are numerous questions, discrepancies, and findings that render the possibility of the “human error” scenario inconceivable. Refusing to close Iran’s airspace amid the highest levels of military tensions, permitting the Ukrainian aircraft to take off, launching multiple missiles at the aircraft just after take-off, hurriedly destroying the crash site and all evidence, threatening and intimidating the witnesses, and suppressing the families of victims are all testament to the notion that the truth can be different from what the Iranian government proposes.
Despite our agonizing pain in the face of Iranian government’s offenses, we remain hopeful that the international bodies and the involved countries will uncover the truth for us families as well as the whole world by conducting independent, impartial, and comprehensive investigations.