Don’t turn plane crash into political issue: Iran foreign ministry spokesman

DUBAI (Reuters) – All countries involved in the Ukrainian airliner crash in Iran should avoid turning it into a political issue, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

“We request all sides not to make human issues, particularly this tragic accident, into an excuse for political gestures,” Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down the airliner last week said on Thursday that Tehran should pay compensation to families of the victims, and that the world was watching for its response.

Mousavi said Iran had cooperated “beyond expectations” with countries whose citizens were killed in the crash, according to ISNA.

Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain also said after a meeting of officials in London that Iran should hold a “thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations”.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards admitted accidentally shooting down the Ukrainian airliner with a missile, killing all 176 aboard.

Mousavi said it was “strange” that Canada’s foreign ministry had asked for consular access related to the crash, noting that almost all of the victims of the crash have been identified.

(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; editing by John Stonestreet)