Questions are rising after Ukraine International Boeing 737-800 went down just minutes after taking off from Tehran’s airport, leaving no survivors.

The aircraft (reg. UR-PSR) was seen on fire before to hit the ground.

The crash came at a time of high tensions between Iran and the US – just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two air bases housing US forces in Iraq. However there is no evidence the two events are linked.

Photos of the crash site show pieces of the aircraft fuselage and tail with similar holes to the ones identified on the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that was shot down in 2014.

US intelligence

Ukraine International Boeing 737-800 #PS752 could have shot down by Iran’s anti-aircraft missile. US intelligence picked up signals of the radar being turned on & satellite detected infrared blips of 2 missile launches, probably SA-15s, followed shortly by another infrared blip of an explosion.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation investigation

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) chief Ali Abedzadeh said: “The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash.”

In comments published by Iran’s conservative Mehr news agency, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO), Ali Abedzadeh, said: “We will not give the black box to the manufacturer and the Americans.”

“This accident will be investigated by Iran’s aviation organisation but the Ukrainians can also be present,” he added.

Unusual data

Flight data from the Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737-800 shows that the plane climbed normally after taking-off from Tehran.

It reached 7,900ft before the aircraft’s data suddenly disappears. This is unusual and would suggest some type of catastrophic incident on board the plane.

The Boeing 737-800 is powered by two CFM International CFM56 engines.

Western intelligence agencies

Five security sources – three Americans, one European and one Canadian – who asked not to be named, told Reuters the initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile.

There was evidence one of the jet’s engines had overheated, the Canadian source said.

Ukrainian request

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised statement that “a thorough and independent investigation will be conducted in accordance with international law”, and that he would speak to Iranian leaders to step up cooperation in investigating the crash.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, meanwhile, said crash investigators from his country had arrived in Iran to assist in the probe.

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