Iran admits to shooting down plane unintentionally

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"This reinforces the need for a thorough investigation", Trudeau said.

Dominic Raab echoed calls by the Prime Minister and his Canadian counterpart for a thorough investigation into the disaster which killed all 176 people on board the Ukrainian aircraft, saying Iran should "open up" the crash site to global investigators.

A statement from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "Given the body of information that UIA Flight 752 was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile, and the heightened tensions, we are now advising British nationals not to travel to Iran".

If the United States or Canada were to present incontrovertible evidence that the plane was shot down by Iran, even if unintentionally, it could have a dramatic impact on public opinion in Iran.

A preliminary Iranian investigative report released on Thursday said that the airliner pilots never made a radio call for help and that the burning plane was trying to turn back for the airport when it went down.

United States officials said the airliner might have been mistakenly identified as a threat.

Iran's foreign ministry earlier invited U.S. plane maker Boeing to "participate" in the probe.

The plane crashed minutes after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on 8 January, hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian commander.

With tensions high between the United States and Iran, the disaster unfolded just hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles towards bases in Iraq housing USA troops.

"Iran's AAIB is the lead investigative agency and questions regarding the progress of the investigation should be directed there".

Ukrainian investigators had a good meeting Thursday with their Iranian counterparts, who proposed, among other things, that Iranian technicians would decrypt the information while the Ukrainians observed, Shevchenko said.

Iran's civil aviation chief said Tehran had invited "Americans, Canadians, the French, Ukrainians and the Swedish" to be present during the investigations, showing that "we are honest in our procedure".

But unidentified officials told USA media that satellite, radar and electronic data indicated Tehran's air defence units downed the aircraft.

Canada's transportation safety board on said yesterday it had accepted an invitation from Iran's civil aviation authority to join the inquiry. Western leaders believe the Ukranian Airlines plane crash was part of that response.

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