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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau says US escalation partly to blame for Iran plane deaths

Trudeau criticised the US government over its escalation [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 January, 2020

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed America of what he says was a needless escalation of hostilities against Iran which led to the Ukrainian plane being mistakenly shot down.
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has placed partial blame on the US over the Ukrainian jet-liner deaths, arguing that were it not for the escalation of tensions ignited by America, 176 passengers would be alive.

"I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right home with their families," the prime minister said in an interview with Global Television.

He added that the international community had been "very, very clear about needing to have a non-nuclear Iran", but also in "managing the tensions in the region that are brought about by US actions as well".

Sixty-three of the victims were Canadian, all of them thought to also be nationals of Iran.

The route from Iran to Canada, via Kiev, is cheap and popular among Iranian-Canadians, including students and academics returning home from the holidays.

At a televised press conference on Saturday, Trudeau said he told Rouhani the admission was "an important step" but "many more steps must be taken".

"A full and complete investigation must be conducted," he said. "We need full clarity on how such a horrific tragedy could have occurred. Iran must take full responsibility.”

US President Donald Trump last Friday ordered the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, spiking tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Iran retaliated Wednesday by firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops. The airliner went down just hours later.

"I am, of course, outraged and furious that families across this country are grieving the loss of their loved ones, that the Iranian-Canadian community is suffering so greatly, that all Canadians are shocked and appalled at the senseless loss of life," Trudeau said on Saturday.

"It's a huge tragedy for the entire country and not just for the Iranian community."

In Toronto, an estimated 100,000 Canadians are of Iranian origin. It is one of the largest Iranian communities in North America, after Los Angeles. Officials figures say there were 210,000 Canadians of Iranian origin in 2016.

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