Iran creates compensation fund for victims of downed plane

Iran to pay $150,000 for each victim of Ukrainian passenger plane that was shot down by Iranian forces outside Tehran last January.

Elad Benari ,

Ukraine International Airlines airplane
Ukraine International Airlines airplane

Iran’s cabinet has created a compensation fund to pay the families of the 176 victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane that was shot down by Iranian forces outside Tehran last January, the president announced Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

Iran will pay $150,000 for each victim, state TV reported, without specifying a timeline for the awards.

There was no immediate comment on Iran's announcement from the five countries in talks with Iran about reparations.

The Boeing 737, bound for Kiev, was hit by two ground-to-air missiles and crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran on January 8. All 176 aboard were killed.

Iran initially denied having anything to do with the crash, but US officials said early on that the plane had been shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran later admitted that it had made a mistake and shot the Ukrainian plane after it flew too close to a sensitive military site and failed to respond to signals.

The crash came shortly after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house US forces in retaliation for the US eliminating top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Victims aboard the Ukrainian plane included citizens of Canada, Sweden, the U.K, Afghanistan and Ukraine. Out of 176 on board, 57 were Canadians. Many of the passengers were scheduled to catch a connecting flight to Toronto.

Wednesday’s announcement comes after several rounds of talks between Iran and Ukraine over the compensation.

The association representing the families of victims released a statement last week lambasting Iran’s compensation offer and demanding an independent and transparent investigation into the crash.

“The families are vigilant and will not sign any document. The murderer cannot play the role of mourner,” said the statement quoted by AP.