French officials on Monday said investigators have obtained cockpit voice data from the black boxes of the Ukrainian jet mistakenly shot down by Iran in January.
“CVR data – including the event itself – has been successfully downloaded,” wrote France’s BEA investigation bureau said in a tweet.
Iranian forces shot down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 jet – killing all 176 people on board – after mistaking it for a missile on January 8.
The deadly incident came during a period of heightened tensions with the U.S. — just hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi airbases housing American troops in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, earlier in January.
Iran initially blamed the crash on technical problems and only acknowledged shooting down the plane days later.
Iran has been in intense negotiations with Ukraine, Canada, and other nations that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and who have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.
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Iran’s semi-official news agency reported Saturday that Iran sent the black box from the Ukrainian passenger jet to France for reading.
The report quotes Mohsen Baharvand, an aide to Iran’s foreign minister, as saying the downed jet’s black box was transported to Paris on Friday, accompanied by Iranian civil aviation and judicial officials.
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It’s not clear why Iran sent the black box to France. Boeing is an American company and Iranian experts needed a converter to recover data from the box, but the U.S. opposed providing it to Iran.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.