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Iran denies it's responsible for plane crash that killed 176

Posted at 7:09 AM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 07:17:49-05

Iran is denying a missile hit a Ukrainian airplane that crashed near Tehran this week and is calling on the U.S. and Canada to release data backing their allegations.

Western leaders say the plane appeared to have been unintentionally hit by an Iranian missile, just hours after Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles on two American bases in Iraq, in retaliation for the killing of its top general in a U.S. airstrike.

Ukranian International Airlines Flight 752 crashed Tuesday evening, killing 176 people. Among those killed were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Brits, according to CNN.

The plane crashed hours after Iran launched a series of missiles at an air base housing U.S. troops in Iraq. No one was injured in those attacks, and President Donald Trump said Wednesday that it appeared that Iran was "standing down."

Iran said it launched the missiles in response to the U.S. assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Western leaders believe the Ukranian Airlines plane crash was part of that response.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has "suspicions" about what happened to the plane. On Thursday he denied the Iranian claim that a mechanical issue caused the crash.

In a press conference on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that intelligence from "multiple sources" — both from Canada and its allies — indicated it was "highly likely" that an Iranian missile brought down the plane.

If the U.S. and Canada provide proof that a missile downed the Ukrainian plane, it could inflame public opinion in Iran after many rallied around authorities following the U.S. strike that killed Iran's top general last week.