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NZ joins partners in calling for investigation to Iran crash

Developments that suggest a missile struck down a plane in Iran carrying almost 200 passengers is disastrous news, says Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters.

Reports suggest a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight on Wednesday.

Flight PS752 departed from Iran's Imam Khomeini International Airport and was heading towards Kyev, Ukraine when it crashed shortly after take-off. There were no survivors. 

On the same day, Iran's military had also been firing missiles at airbases hosting U.S. military in retaliation to the killing of Iran military leader Qassem Soleimani by US forces. US authorities said their intelligence suggested the downing of the Boeing 737 plane was unintentional. Iranian authorities have now recovered the black box, which records flight data, and Boeing is expected to investigate.  

“New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is a tragic loss of life for all countries involved,” said Peters.

“We join others in calling for a thorough, independent and unimpeded investigation into the circumstances of the crash.

A video posted onto a public Telegram channel and verified by The New York Times  shows a mid-air explosion on the plane's flight path.

Peters said the region remains unstable and NZ was offering Canada assistance - there were 63 Canadians on the flight.

“The situation in the region has calmed in the last 24-hours but remains unstable. We continue to call for diplomacy at this time of heightened tensions."

“We, through our Embassy in Tehran, have offered assistance to the Canadians in its consular response to the crash as Canada does not maintain an Embassy in Iran.