It’s suspicious, isn’t it? Ukraine International flight 752 took off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, and only a few minutes later, plunged into the ground, killing all on board. This happened just hours after Iran launched between 20 and 24 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from its own territory into Iraq, targeting two bases where American troops are stationed.
We know this: The aircraft was an older model 737-800 (not the 737 MAX, which is grounded). It reportedly was “engulfed in flames” and at least 176 people lost their lives. The manifest included 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians and 63 Canadians, in addition to 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans and three Brits, the New York Times reported.
We don’t know much else.
The Iranians, in the most friendly of circumstances, cannot be counted on to cooperate with American authorities. In this fraught and tense situation, it’s hardly surprising that they are refusing to turn the black box over to Boeing. Though Boeing is a private company, and not the U.S. government, nobody thinks that if the black box showed evidence of a missile strike or other cause putting the Iranians to blame, that Boeing would not tell U.S. authorities. Of course Boeing would.
Boeing has a right to know what happened to the jet, especially since Iranian authorities immediately, and without presenting evidence, claimed the crash was a result of a mechanical problem. That in itself raises suspicions. If true, it will further exacerbate Boeing’s woes, given the problems it has with the 737 MAX and its uncertain future.
Air crashes are investigated using a very rigorous set of guidelines, run by experts in their field. The NTSB, though only tasked with U.S. safety issues, has lots of resources to help investigate crashes worldwide, but at times, foreign nations that don’t hold the truth in the same regard quash the process. For instance, the investigation into Malaysia Flight 370’s disappearance was compromised by Malaysian officials looking to protect their own reputations and jobs.
“In global aviation we would like to think that the technical experts will rule the day,” said Michael Huerta, a former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. “But given that it’s Iran, we’ll have to wait and see.”Little Clarity, Many Theories in Ukraine Airline Crash in Iran, New York Times, Jan 9, 2020
Iran has more pressing matters than letting grieving families gain closure into what downed Flight 752. It’s certainly easier for them to blame Boeing, or Ukraine International’s maintenance, than it is to pursue the truth. In fact, its seems like Iran has more to gain by covering up, or at least, muddying, the truth.
If Flight 752 was in fact downed by a missile, that would make Iran responsible. We do know that three hours before their missile launch, Iranian air defense “went active.” Perhaps an air defense missile site mistook the passenger jet for a military jet. Or perhaps U.S. forces were flying some kind of intelligence drone over Iran, and the doomed 737 happened to the “in the way.” Wrong place at the wrong time.
That would look bad for the largely Russian-made air defense system Iran uses. It would not be the first time a Russian system shot down an airliner. Remember in 2014, when Malaysia Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine (irony is unintentional here), with 298 dead. Neither Russia, nor Iran want to look bad, so it’s easier to hide the truth–if this was a missile strike–and let everyone speculate.
But that just makes me more suspicious.