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10 Jan, 2020 15:42

NATO chief says there’s ‘no reason to disbelieve’ claims that Iran downed Ukrainian Boeing with missile over Tehran

NATO chief says there’s ‘no reason to disbelieve’ claims that Iran downed Ukrainian Boeing with missile over Tehran

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has tentatively backed claims from the US and allies that Iran shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed on Wednesday, saying there is “no reason to doubt” the allegation.

“We have no reason to not believe the reports we have seen from different NATO allies…that the plane may have been downed by Iranian air defense systems,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Friday. He called for Iran to “participate and contribute to a transparent and thorough investigation.”

Also on rt.com Secret intelligence & ‘highly likelys’: How media created narrative around Tehran jet crash to blame Iran, Russia and Trump

Iran has welcomed countries that lost citizens in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, which killed all 176 people on board, to participate in the investigation. It has suggested it will enlist the help of France or Canada in decoding the data from the black boxes retrieved from the wreckage, but refuses to hand them over to the US.

The US-led narrative that Iran shot down the plane by “mistake” has gradually eclipsed other explanations in the media, even from outlets that had previously aired competing narratives, though no evidence has emerged to support the hypothesis. US President Donald Trump hinted on Thursday that “somebody could have made a mistake,” and anonymous US officials went further to claim it was “highly likely” Iran had shot it down. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau piled on with his own claims that multiple pieces of intelligence supported the narrative, though he admitted it was too early to be “drawing any conclusions.

Iran has called the claims “psychological warfare” and asked the US and its allies to produce evidence to support the rapidly-congealing narrative. Ukrainian prosecutors have, meanwhile, called for an end to “speculations” and the “shameless self-promotion” of certain politicians that are trying to capitalize on the narrative. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to foreign partners to share the evidence mentioned in the public claims.

Also on rt.com Missile strike, terrorist attack, engine explosion among main theories on Boeing crash in Iran – Ukraine's Security Council

The plane crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport en route to Kiev, not long after Iran had fired missiles at two US bases in Iraq. Aside from temporal proximity, however, no evidence has yet emerged implicating Iran in the flight’s demise.

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