Ukraine International Airlines airplane
Ukraine International Airlines airplane iStock

B'nai Brith Canada has sent a letter to Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, calling for measures affecting Iran's aviation in light of its government's refusal to pay reparations to the families of victims of a flight that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down in early 2020, The Suburban reported on Wednesday.

"We are today formally requesting that you discuss our demand in Cabinet with a view to Canada taking the necessary steps to ensuring the ultimate grounding of Iranian aviation," the letter says. "The time for diplomatic engagement is long past. Iran is a rogue state. It flaunts the world community and represents a danger that could destabilize the Middle East and could foster global terrorism. A united response by the world community is required."

The letter specifically asks that "Canada collaborate with international partners, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, to limit Iranian air carriers’ ability to transport passengers until an independent inquiry be conducted and reparations paid to the families of the victims."

It also calls for the "cancellation of international flights to Iran and refusing to permit flights originating in Iran to service airports elsewhere" as well as "an embargo on the sale of civilian aircraft and aircraft parts to service Iranian aviation."

"These measures are aimed at obtaining an independent inquiry into the shooting down of PS 752 and obtaining reparations for the families of the victims," Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B'nai Brith's League of Human Rights, told The Suburban.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport on January 8, 2020.

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.

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.

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.

The letter to Alghabra from B'nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn and Rotrand comes a week after a court in the province of Ontario awarded more than $107 million to families of six victims of the crash.

The letter notes that "from day one Iran has obfuscated, endeavoring initially to deny it shot down the unarmed civilian passenger flight, showing nothing but callousness disregard to the families of the victims by refusing to accept responsibility by paying reparation and most recently snubbing the International Coordination and Response Group comprised of Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, and the United Kingdom in its efforts to negotiate reparation for the families of the victim."

"Last week Global Affairs Canada issued a statement that the Group had concluded that discussions were at a dead end and that the four countries comprising the group would pursue Iran under international law. That is why we write today....We are a voice of the Jewish community to combat antisemitism. But we stand with all communities to fight hate and injustice," it adds.

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