Wreckage from the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 is shown in a field west of Tehran on January 8, hours after it was brought down by two Iranian surface-to-air missiles. (Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Iran Now Seeks Outside Help in Reading Black Boxes from Downed Airliner

Iranian aviation authorities have requested equipment from the United States and France to help them download critical information from data recorders retrieved from the debris of a passenger jet it shot down on January 8. The Ukrainian International Airlines 737 was brought down near Tehran by surface-to-air missiles amid a spike in tensions over the assassination of one of Iran’s top generals, and an Iranian retaliatory strike against US forces based in Iraq. “If the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time,” the country’s Civil Aviation Organization stated in a document it published on Monday. Iran initially denied the plane had been shot down, but later said the missiles were fired in error. It is refusing to hand over the airliner’s so-called black boxes to foreign authorities that are better equipped to read and interpret the technical data and cockpit voice recordings, leading to suspicions that Tehran has yet more to hide.

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