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University of Alberta identifies 10 victims of Iran plane crash with ties to university

At least 10 members of University of Alberta community killed in Iran plane crash: president
WATCH ABOVE: University of Alberta president David Turpin said at least 10 members of the university community were killed in Wednesday morning's plane crash in Iran. Turpin called it a "grave loss" for the school.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Jan. 10, the Canadian government updated the number of Canadians killed in the Jan. 8 Ukraine International Airlines crash in Iran from 63 to 57.

The University of Alberta has identified the 10 members of its school community who were killed in a plane crash in Iran early Wednesday morning, and they include professors, students and alumni.

Early Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government has intelligence that “indicates the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.” He added it “may well have been unintentional.”

READ MORE: What we know about Iran plane crash victims with Edmonton connections

All 176 passengers and crew on board were killed, including 63 Canadians. Among the victims were 10 people with connections to the University of Alberta.

“These individuals were integral to the intellectual and social fabric of our university and the broader community,” university president David Turpin said in a blog post Thursday.

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“We are grieving for lost colleagues, classmates, teachers, and mentors, as well as loved ones, family, friends and roommates.”

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Mojgan Daneshmand

Danshmand was a professor of electrical engineering and Canada research chair (Tier II) in radio frequency microsystems for communication and sensing, in the department of electrical and computer engineering within the Faculty of Engineering, according to the university.

News that Iran plane shot down disturbing to those who knew Edmonton victims
News that Iran plane shot down disturbing to those who knew Edmonton victims

Daneshmand was on the plane with his wife, Pedram Mousavi, who was a professor of mechanical engineering at the U of A. Their daughters — Daria, born in 2005, and Dorina, born in 2010 — were also killed in the crash.

READ MORE: Over 20 Canadian universities and colleges mourn students, faculty killed in Iran plane crash

Pedram Mousavi

Mousavi was a professor of mechanical engineering and NSERC industrial research chair in intelligent integrated sensors and antennas, in the department of mechanical engineering within the Faculty of Engineering.

Mojgan Daneshmand (L) and Pedram Mousavi, both who were professors at the University of Alberta, with their daughters Daria and Darina Mousavi.
Mojgan Daneshmand (L) and Pedram Mousavi, both who were professors at the University of Alberta, with their daughters Daria and Darina Mousavi. Supplied to Global News

Pouneh Gorji

Gorji was a student, obtaining her Masters of Science in computing science within the Faculty of Science. Gorji and her husband, fellow U of A student Arash Pourzarabi, were married in Iran on Jan. 1 and were returning to Edmonton to continue their studies.

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Arash Pourzarabi

Pourzarabi was also a student, obtaining his Masters of Science in computing science within the Faculty of Science.

Arash Pourzarabi and Pouneh Gorji were married on Jan. 1, 2020.
Arash Pourzarabi and Pouneh Gorji were married on Jan. 1, 2020.

READ MORE: Alberta newlyweds married for just a week died in Iran plane crash

Elnaz Nabiyi

Nabiyi was a doctor of philosophy student within the department of accounting, operations and information systems within the Alberta School of Business.

Elnaz Nabiyi
Elnaz Nabiyi Credit / Facebook

Nasim Rahmanifar

Rahmnifar was obtaining a Master of Science in mechanical engineering within the university’s Faculty of Engineering.

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“She was so excited to go back,” friend Sina Esfandiarpour said on Wednesday. “She was texting me: ‘My finals are over.’ She planned to surprise her mom. She didn’t tell her she was coming back.”

Nasim Rahmanifar was a graduate research assistant at the Faculty of Engineering at the U of A.
Nasim Rahmanifar was a graduate research assistant at the Faculty of Engineering at the U of A. Nasim Rahmanifar / LinkedIn

Amir Hossein Saeedinia

Saeedinia was a new PhD student at the Centre for Design of Advanced Materials. An advisor confirmed to Global News that Saeedinia was set to arrive in Edmonton to begin his studies this week.

Assistant professor James Hogan said Thursday that he was Saeedinia’s PhD supervisor and first received an email from him last spring, inquiring about the program.

“I get these emails all the time from students, his email was different,” Hogan said. “It was to the point, it was short, his personality came through. Since then, him and I have been talking every other week since spring to get him ready to start his PhD.”

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Several Iran plane crash victims linked to University of Alberta
Several Iran plane crash victims linked to University of Alberta

Hogan said Saeedinia had a wonderful personality and “worked his butt off” to get where he was.

“Every time I talked to him, the black screen of Skype would go away and there’d be him with his big smile asking me how cold it was in Edmonton and I would tell him it was very cold,” he said with a smile.

Amir Hossein Saeedinia appears in this undated photo.
Amir Hossein Saeedinia appears in this undated photo.

Saba Saadat

Saba Saadat was a bachelor of science student in the department of biological sciences within the Faculty of Science. She was in the process of applying to medical school.

She was on the plane with her sister, Sara Saadat, who was also a student at the university. The girls’ mother, Dr. Shekoufeh Choupannejad, was also killed in the plane crash. Choupannejad was an obstetrician and gynecologist at Northgate Medical Clinic.

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Edmonton sisters killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures
Edmonton sisters killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures

READ MORE: Edmonton sisters killed in Iran plane crash remembered as ‘so kind’ and ‘extraordinarily capable’

Sara Saadat

Sara Saadat graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Friends said she was recently accepted into a clinical psychology program at Alliant University in San Diego, California.

Sara and Saba Saadat.
Sara and Saba Saadat. Supplied to Global News

Mohammad Mahdi Elyasi

Elyasi graduated from the U of A with a Masters of Science in 2017.

“In the coming days, we will be sharing and celebrating each person’s unique contributions to their academic fields and to the many communities they touched,” Turpin said.

“We will feel their loss — and the aftermath of this tragedy — for many years to come.”

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Mohammad Mahdi Elyasi earned his master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta in 2017.
Mohammad Mahdi Elyasi earned his master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta in 2017. Credit: LinkedIn

A public memorial service to honour the victim’s of Wednesday’s crash is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at the Saville Community Sports Centre. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the service is expected to last about two hours.