Iran maintains that a misaligned missile battery, miscommunication between troops and their commanders and a decision to fire without authorisation are what led to the fatal downing of the jetliner.

General view of the debris of the Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752, Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020 is seen in this screen grab obtained from social media.
General view of the debris of the Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752, Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed after take-off from Iran's Imam Khomeini airport, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020 is seen in this screen grab obtained from social media. (AP)

Iran has retrieved some data, including a portion of cockpit conversations, from the Ukrainian jetliner accidentally downed by the Revolutionary Guard forces in January, killing all 176 people on board.

Analysis from the black boxes of a downed Ukrainian passenger plane shows it was hit by two missiles 25 seconds apart and that passengers were still alive for some time after the impact of the first blast, an Iranian official said Sunday..

The shoot down happened the same night Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting US soldiers in Iraq, its response to the American drone strike that killed Guard General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3.

At the time, Iranian troops were bracing for a US counterstrike and appear to have mistaken the plane for a missile. 

Iran, however, has not acknowledged that, only saying that after the ballistic missile attack, its air defense was sufficiently alert and had allowed previously scheduled air traffic to resume, a reference to the Ukrainian plane being allowed to take off from Tehran. 

READ MORE: Nations of Iran crash victims demand Tehran accept 'full responsibility'

Report

The announcement by the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization marks the first official report on the contents of the cockpit voice and data recordings, which were sent to France for reading in July.

The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, Capt. Touraj Dehghani Zangeneh, said on Sunday that the Ukrainian passenger plane’s black boxes have only 19 seconds of conversation following the first explosion, though the second missile reached the plane 25 seconds later. The report quoting him did not elaborate.

Last month, an initial report from the Iranian investigation said that a misaligned missile battery, miscommunication between troops and their commanders and a decision to fire without authorisation all led to the fatal downing of the jetliner.

READ MORE: Ukraine 'gets access' to crashed plane's black boxes – minister

'Shrapnel into the plane'

Iran has been in talks with Ukraine, Canada and other nations that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and who have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.

"The data analysis from the blackboxes should not be politicised," Zanganeh said.

He said the first missile explosion sent shrapnel into the plane, likely disrupting the plane’s recorders.

“Data recovery activity was all done with the aim of at safety and preventing similar incidents," Zangeneh said, adding an appeal against “any political use of the process."

Iran's Revolutionary Guards shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight with a ground-to-air missile on January 8, just after the plane took off from Tehran, in what Tehran later acknowledged as a “disastrous mistake” by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the US.

Iranian and Ukrainian officials have held talks on the compensation to families of the victims. Another round of talks is set for October.

READ MORE: Protests pile pressure on Iran after admission of plane strike

Source: Reuters