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Iran sends black box from downed Ukrainian passenger jet to France

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2020 file photo, rescue workers search the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

Iran has sent the black box of the Ukrainian passenger jet that its armed forces mistakenly shot down in January to France for reading, an Iranian semi-official news agency said Saturday.

Iran accidentally shot down the Boeing 737-800, killing all 176 people aboard, after mistaking it for an incoming missile.

Read more: Pain, heartache continue as families of those killed on downed Ukrainian plane wait for answers

The were 55 Canadian citizens board the aircraft, along with 30 permanent residents and dozens of others with connections to Canada.

Iranian armed forces had been bracing for a counterattack after launching missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq in response to the killing of its top commander, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, in a U.S. strike earlier in January.

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ILNA’s report quotes Mohsen Baharvand, an aide to Iran’s foreign minister, as saying the downed jet’s black box was transported to Paris on Friday, accompanied by Iranian civil aviation and judicial officials.

Baharvand also said the black box will be read in Paris on Monday.

Read more: Iran’s report on downing plane ‘raises more questions,’ says advocate for victims

Iran has been in intense negotiations with Ukraine, Canada and other nations that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and which have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.

Iran initially blamed the crash on technical problems and only acknowledged shooting down the plane days later.

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