Five families of victims who died in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 met with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and federal Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, calling for answers and justice.
Habib Haghjoo, whose daughter Sahar Haghjoo and granddaughter Elsa Jadidi were in Iran for several weeks visiting family and were among the 176 people killed when Flight 752 was shot down over Tehran on Wednesday, was among those who met with Ford and Champagne.
He contacted Global News and before the meeting, he said his sorrow is now mixed with rage.
“I cannot justify that. I cannot reason it. I don’t know how I can express it … I’m shattered, I’m broken,” Habib said.
“I need justice … I don’t want their memory to be lost.”
Habib said Sahar was one of four sisters, and their mother died when she was 37 years old. She was the same age last week when she died in the plane crash.
“The only reason I’m standing, the only reason I’m putting myself together, is for the rest of the family,” Habib said.
He called for a full investigation “without bias,” and insisted Canada play a key role in it.
The meeting comes on the same day a new video surfaced appearing to show two separate missiles hitting the Ukraine Airlines flight.
On Saturday, Iran admitted to downing Flight 752 — which had 57 Canadians on board — and said it was unintentional, citing “human error” in a statement.
Canadian officials are currently in Iran in an effort to gather more information.
Global News spoke with Ford shortly after the meeting, who was visibly emotional following his conversations with the families.
“This is the most emotional meeting I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been in thousands of meetings. It’s absolutely heart-wrenching listening to the families and what they’re facing and it’s just terrible,” Ford said while thanking Champagne for attending the meeting and showing support.
Ford expressed his support for the Iranian-Canadian community as well as for those protesting at home and abroad.
“I just want to tell the 115,000 Iranians that live in Ontario that we have their backs and we are going to support them every way we can on a provincial level. We’re working hand-in-hand with the federal government,” he said.
“I want to tell the people who are protesting that you have the support of Ontario, and of Canada, and this is unacceptable. But there has to be accountability and justice. The leaders of the world have to stand up and make sure they bring this evil regime to justice.”
Ford was asked if he believes the investigation will be fair and if Iran was solely to blame for the downing of Flight 752.
“I going to say a quote from Ronald Reagan, ‘Trust but verify.’ I don’t trust this regime whatsoever,” Ford said.
“You don’t accidentally shoot missiles at planes. They have to be held accountable, bottom line, and I heard those exact words from the families.”
Meanwhile, Habib said Sahar’s husband is in Iran fighting to bring back his wife and daughter’s remains. But he said the effort is proving to be complicated.
“My daughter, my granddaughter, still their bodies are not identified,” Habib said.
“Just imagine what pain I’m going through.”