The first Canadian victim from a passenger plane downed by an Iranian missile strike has been brought home for burial.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters on Tuesday that the remains of one victim have been repatriated so far and that while others will follow, those will likely be kept similarly private until after the fact.
“There has been one repatriation of remains and we respected the wishes of the family to respect their privacy,” Champagne said.
“That’s why this already occurred.”
All 176 people on board Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 died overnight on Jan. 7 when Iran fired two missiles at the passenger aircraft.
The regime initially denied doing so but later admitted it had mistaken the plane for a hostile target and fired at it.
Of those 176 victims, 57 were Canadian citizens and 29 were permanent residents here.
More than 80 of the passengers were Iranian and many appear to have held dual citizenship.
Iran, however, does not recognize dual citizenship and the regime issued a statement on Monday saying that it considered all dual nationals killed in the crash to be Iranian citizens, raising questions about whether the wishes of families who want their loved ones repatriated to Canada will be observed.
There have been allegations raised that Iranian officials are harassing the families of dual citizens about the issue of repatriation.
Champagne said on Tuesday that while he is taking those allegations “seriously,” the latest information he has received from Canadian consular officials is that the wishes of the families are being respected.
Canada is among several countries that lost citizens on board that aircraft that have organized an international response group to coordinate their push for answers into the disaster. That includes the demand that Iran compensate the families of the victims and that it hand over the black boxes for analysis.
Iran has said it does not have the capacity to download and decode the data from the two flight recorders recovered from the crash site.
It has said it would consider having a country like France analyze the data, which could tell investigators exactly what was happening inside the cockpit and with the aircraft systems as it went down in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
The Canadian government also said last week it will give $25,000 to the family of each Canadian victim as a form of interim compensation to cover the costs of travel back and forth to Iran as well as paying their bills in the aftermath of the tragedy.