Iran has sent the black box of the Ukrainian passenger jet that it said its armed forces mistakenly shot down in January to France for reading, an Iranian semi-official news agency said Saturday.
Iran says it accidentally shot down the Boeing 737-800 in January, killing all 176 people aboard, including 55 Canadians. Iran initially denied responsibility for the incident, but later admitted its role in downing the jetliner, saying it was mistaken for an incoming missile.
Iranian armed forces had been bracing for a counterattack after launching missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq in response to the killing of its top commander, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, in a U.S. strike earlier in January.
ILNA's report quotes Mohsen Baharvand, an aide to Iran's foreign minister, as saying the downed jet's black box was transported to Paris on Friday, accompanied by Iranian civil aviation and judicial officials.
Baharvand also said the black box will be read in Paris on Monday.
He said France will begin reading the flight recorders on Monday and praised the French government for its "very good cooperation with the Iranian delegation."
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France's BEA air accident investigation agency is known as one of the world's leading agencies for reading flight recorders.
Iran has been in intense negotiations with Ukraine, Canada and other nations that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and which have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.
An official from Canada's Transportation Safety Board told CBC News in a statement: "We are deploying a team this weekend to Paris and we will have more information on Monday once they are onsite."
In an interim report last week, Iran's Civil Aviation Organization blamed a misalignment of a radar system and lack of communication between the air defense operator and his commanders for the downing.
With files from CBC News and Reuters
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