Iranian officials denies shooting down Ukrainian passenger jet

Iranian officials on Thursday denied claims that they mistakenly shot down a Ukranian passenger jet. The plane crashed Wednesday soon after takeoff from Tehran’s airport, killing everyone on board.

CBS News has learned U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down the jetliner in the hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets earlier this week. There were 176 people killed in the crash: 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals.

U.S. transportation officials and Boeing invited to crash site

Iran’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Board has invited the National Transportation Safety Board and Boeing to the site of the plane crash.

In a statement, NTSB said it isn’t sure if it will accept the offer: “Due to sanctions and restrictions in place affecting participation by the NTSB and other U.S. organizations, the NTSB continues its coordination with the State Department, Treasury Department and Commerce to determine the best course of action as this investigation unfolds.”

“Close interagency coordination is of particular importance in this instance given the long-standing sanctions against Iran, which, among other things, prohibit the provision of technical data, lending of technical assistance and travel to Iran.” 

Iran denies jet was shot down

Iranian officials are denying that one of their missiles shot down the passenger jet. A spokesman for the armed forces called the allegations ridiculous and Ali Abedzadeh, the head of the Iranian Civilian Aviation Authority, said it’s not scientifically possible.

Within hours of the crash, the aviation authority pointed toward technical failure as the cause and said the plane was on fire as it tried to return to the airport minutes after takeoff. A website affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard called the U.S. intelligence a conspiracy cooked up by Iran’s enemies. 

Ukrainian investigators arrived at the crash site to participate but they have not yet been given access to the crash site.

The Iranians have said that they will not hand over the plane’s black boxes, but will work with the Ukrainians to download and analyze the data. They said if they need extra help, they may approach other countries and specifically mentioned France

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