Salam Toronto Weekly English January 09, 20 80 Continued from Cover Page 84: Canada pushing Tehran for direct access on Iran plane crash, Trudeau says “The investigation on the ground is conducted by Iran, and Ukraine will of course contribute,” envoy Andriy Shevchenko said in an interview. “We’re ready to do everything we can to help the investigation. We hope that the Canadian offer of contribution into the investigation will be recognized and appreciated.” The Iranian military disputed any suggestion the plane had been hit by a missile, and Iranian aviation authorities said they suspected a mechanical problem brought down the 3 1/2-year-old Boeing 737. Ukrainian authorities initially said it appeared mechanical failure was to blame, but later walked that back, saying nothing had been ruled out. Trudeau said the government couldn’t rule out that the plane had been shot down, but he also cautioned: “It is too early to speculate; I would encourage people not to speculate.” Transport Minister Marc Garneau - one of several ministers and government officials to flank Trudeau at his press conference - said satellite data showed the aircraft climbing normally for 2 minutes after take- off. “However, we lost contact with it, suggesting that something very unusual happened, but we cannot speculate at this point. There are a number of possibilities,” he said. Shevchenko said the plane had “passed all the necessary technical maintenance prior to the flight. There was a well-experienced crew. The captain had 12,000 flight hours of experience specifically on Boeing 737s.” Now, he said Ukraine was determined to press for answers, leveraging its embassy in Tehran, and its open diplomatic channels with Iran. “Our minister of foreign affairs had a phone conversation with the Iranian minister of foreign affairs, so we have established contact on this,” said Shevchenko. “It is heartbreaking. We have been such close friends with Canada and share so many good things. Now we will have to walk through this pain together.” The Ukrainian offer is significant because Canada has been a vocal critic of Iran since breaking diplomatic ties, including of its record on human rights through numerous interventions at the UN. Ukraine officials are also working closely with the Iranians to identify all the victims and repatriate their remains, Shevchenko added. The Ukraine government has dispatched 2 planes to Iran to help with that grim task. The Canadian Press