Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is blaming the United States, in part, for the deaths of 57 of his nation’s citizens after Iran shot down a passenger jet last week.
“If there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau told Canada’s Global News on Monday.
“This is something that happens when you have conflict and war,” he said. “Innocents bear the brunt of it, and it is a reminder why all of us need to work so hard on de-escalation, moving forward to reduce tensions and find a pathway that doesn’t involve further conflict and killing.”
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) January 13, 2020
The Canadian leader said he has communicated with Trump since the incident.
“I have spoken to him and I have talked about the need to de-escalate tensions,” Trudeau said. “I’ve talked about the tremendous grief and loss that Canadians are feeling, and the need for clear answers on how this happened and how we’re going to make sure it never happens again.”
Global News reported that Canada plans to host a meeting in London on Thursday “in which members of the International Coordination and Response Group are set to lay out their next steps for pushing for credible answers and access to [airplane’s] black box data.”
Trudeau says the goal of the meeting will be to demand justice for the victims.
“I think full admission, acknowledgment of responsibility and some form of compensation is going to have to come,” he said.
Iran’s government denied shooting down the Ukrainian International Airlines 737-800 with 176 passengers on board for days after the Jan. 7 tragedy; however, on Friday, Tehran admitted it was responsible, citing human error was the cause.
“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted.
A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:
Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster
Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 11, 2020
“Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” Zarif continued.
Video footage had surfaced following the crash showing what many analysts said was clear evidence of a missile strike taking down the plane.
The incident happened hours after Iran conducted missile attacks directed at military posts housing Americans in Iraq, including 1o hitting the Ain al-Asad Air Base and one striking a U.S. military base in Erbil in northern Iraq.
The United States did not retaliate.
Trump green-lit the killing of Soleimani on Jan. 3 following an attack at a U.S. base in Iraq late last month by an Iranian backed militia, which resulted in the death of an American and the wounding of four U.S. service members.
This same group then breached the outer defenses of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31.
When Trump gave the go-ahead for the killing of Soleimani, the Iranian general was meeting in Baghdad with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias responsible for these attacks.