Ukraine International Airlines airplane
Ukraine International Airlines airplaneiStock

Ukraine International Airlines has sued Iran for $1 billion in reparations for the deliberate shooting down of Flight PS-752 in January of 2020.

B’nai Brith Canada on Tuesday published a statement on the lawsuit, which it said was filed in court in Ontario in January, 2022, but is just now coming out in public.

The lawsuit lists Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as defendants in the murders of the 172 people onboard the doomed flight from Tehran to Kyiv, said B’nai Brith Canada.

The January 2020 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.

Iran's civil aviation authority has blamed “human error” as the reason for the downing of the plane, a report which was dismissed by Canadian authorities.

On January 5, 2022, Global Affairs Canada stated the Group had decided that discussions were fruitless and the four countries would now pursue Iran under international law. Last year, in a precedent-setting case, an Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge awarded $107 million plus interest to the families of six people who died in the downing of PS-752. The judge ruled that the destruction of the commercial plane shortly after takeoff in Tehran was an intentional act of terrorism.

“We appreciate that the Government has advised Canadian carriers not to use Iranian airspace,” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. “However, much more needs to be done. Canada should work with international partners to stop servicing and overflying Iran, thus depriving the regime of substantial funding for using the country’s air space.”

Earlier this year, B’nai Brith wrote to Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to take action to hinder Iranian aviation’s capacity to function until such time that an independent inquiry is held and reparations are paid.

“Iran's denial that the destruction of PS-752 was deliberate and its refusal to pay reparations to the victim's families is consistent with its lack of respect for international law,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “Without international action to deprive it revenue and ground its aviation, Iran will never pay reparations to the families of the victims of Flight PS-752."

B'nai Brith said it supports a ban on international flights to Iran and ending Iranian airlines overflight rights in other countries.