Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that the victims of an Iran-downed jetliner would still be alive if not for a recent escalation of tensions partly triggered by the United States.
Trudeau said in an interview with Global television, “I think if there were no tensions if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families”.
The international community has been “very, very clear about needing to have a non-nuclear Iran” but also in “managing the tensions in the region that are brought about by US actions as well”, he added.
Trudeau has been careful to avoid blaming US President Donald Trump for the deaths of the passengers after Trump ordered the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, in a US airstrike in Baghdad.
The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 was shot down by a missile shortly after taking off from Tehran before dawn early on last Wednesday, that left all 176 onboard dead, including 57 Canadians.
Some Canadians, including a leading corporate leader in the country, blame US President Donald Trump in part for the deaths. Trudeau has also spoken to Trump.
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the aircraft, which had flown close to a sensitive military site belonging to the elite Revolutionary Guards, was shot down “unintentionally due to human error”.
The Iranian military also put out a statement earlier today stating that the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military centre” of the Revolutionary Guard. It also blamed the “highest level of readiness” resulting from tensions with the United States.
The admission comes after Iranian officials vehemently denied claims that they had mistakenly shot the jet and accused the United States of “spreading lies” about intelligence suggesting they did.
The crash came hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting two bases in Iraq housing US forces in retaliation to the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
The United States and Canada had said that the plane was shot down.
The Boeing 737-800 is a very common single-aisle, twin-engine jetliner used for short to medium-range flights. Thousands of planes are used by airlines around the world.