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UK Joins US, Canada To Say Iranian Missile May Have Shot Down Boeing 737, Iran Denies Allegations

UK Joins US, Canada To Say Iranian Missile May Have Shot Down Boeing 737, Iran Denies Allegations

The United Kingdom on Friday advised its citizens to avoid all travel to Iran as it said that there was plenty of evidence that an Iranian missile struck the Ukraine International Airlines aircraft that crashed shortly after leaving the Tehran Airport.

Iran has dismissed the allegations as "psychological warfare," even as the United States and Canadian officials made similar statements earlier in the day.

Plenty Of Evidence, Says UK Prime Minister

"There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile," the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement late Thursday.

"This may well have been unintentional," he added.

Johnson said that there needs to be a "full, transparent investigation," and that the U.K. is working closely with Canada and other international partners on the matter.

The prime minister also called upon "all sides" to de-escalate the tensions in the region.

The U.K. foreign office also updated the travel advisory for Iran on Friday, asking all citizens to avoid travel to, from, or within Iran in light of the crash and Iranian strikes at the U.S. airbases in Iraq.

Why It Matters

The Boeing Company's (NYSE: BA) 737 aircraft headed to Ukraine crashed shortly after leaving the Tehran airport, killing all 176 people on board.

Earlier reports indicated that technical glitches could have caused the crash, but the U.S. and Canada officials later suggested that the aircraft could have been accidentally struck down by Iran.

The crash happened at a similar time when Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting Iraqi airbases that hosted American troops.

The attacks were in direct retaliation for the U.S. strikes at Baghdad Airport that killed Iranian major general Qassem Solemeni, head of the country's elite Quds Force.

'Psychological Warfare,' says Iran

Iran has dismissed the allegations laid by the three North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies as political in nature.

"All these reports are a psychological warfare against Iran ... all those countries whose citizens were aboard the plane can send representatives and we urge Boeing to send its representative to join the process of investigating the black box," government spokesman Ali Rabiei told Iranian Students News Agency, as translated by Reuters.

In an earlier statement, an Iranian official called the reports "illogical rumors" that are "scientifically...impossible."


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