OTTAWA, January 9. /TASS/. Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has had a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif when he underscored the importance of granting Canadian experts access to the crash site of Ukraine International Airlines’ passenger plane near Tehran’s airport, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
"The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, had a phone call last night (January 8 - TASS). The two exchanged condolences for the victims of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 from both their countries," the statement says. "Minister Champagne stressed the need for Canadian officials to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash. Minister Champagne said that Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered," the document adds.
Per earlier reports, the Canadian Foreign Ministry launched a helpline for families of those Canadian citizens that died in the crash, while diplomats in the Canadian embassy in Ankara are providing consular assistance. Canada severed diplomatic ties with Iran in September 2012.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 crashed in the Iranian capital of Tehran shortly after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport. All people onboard, 167 passengers and 9 crewmembers, died in the crash including 63 Canadian citizens.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko announced on his Twitter page that citizens of Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, German and the UK were among those who died in the crash.
The Canadian ministry also informed that Champagne "also condemned Iranian strikes targeting bases in Iraq where Coalition forces, including Canadians, are stationed."
The situation around Iran exacerbated dramatically after the US launched a strike on Baghdad’s airport on January 3 killing General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force. Tehran vowed to respond harshly.
On January 8, Iran retaliated by launching missile strikes on two military facilities in Iraq. The Pentagon’s spokesperson, Jonathan Hoffman, said earlier that Iran launched a missile attack on at least two military facilities in Iraq used by the United States. According to his data, Al-Asad Air Base and the airport of Erbil were targeted.
Moreover, Trump addressed the nation at the White House on Wednesday saying that the US is ready to embrace peace with Iran and is hoping that Tehran would live in harmony with all states around the world. At the same time, Trump announced that new "punishing sanctions" would be imposed on Iran.