A handout image grab from footage obtained from the Iran Press News Agency shows, what Iran's civil aviation says is the black box of the Ukrainian airline. Photo courtesy of Iran Press/EPA-EFE
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Iran will send the flight data and the cockpit voice recorders from the Ukrainian plane downed in Tehran earlier this month to Ukraine, an Iranian official said Saturday.
The director general of the Civil Aviation Disaster Survey announced the transfer of the black boxes to Ukraine to the Tasnim News Agency.
Hassan Rezaifar, director of accident investigations at Iran's Civil Aviation organization, told the agency "the black boxes were not read in Iran," and they plan to use expertise from the United States, France and Canada to try to read the flight data recorder in Ukraine. If that does not work, the black box will be transferred to France.
The Jan. 8 crash killed all 176 people on board, including four British nationals.
Most of the victims were from Iran and Canada.
Iran's state broadcaster IRIB said the flight data and cockpit voice recorders were found at the crash site near Parand, about 35 miles southwest of Tehran. The Boeing 737 went down shortly after it left Imam Khomeini International Airport.
The Ukraine Airlines plane was downed hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops. Both took place less than a week after the United States killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.
Iran said Jan. 11 that it accidentally downed the plane when it was mistaken for a cruise missile. The country initially denied blame for the crash. After, Iranian protesters took to the streets, demanding the country's leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, resign.
President Donald Trump initially said "all is well' after the missile attack and no Americans were harmed, but on Thursday, the Pentagon said nearly a dozen U.S. troops were injured.