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World wants full account as Iran admits downing Ukraine jet

The statement sparked some relief that at least the immediate cause of the disaster would not be concealed amid international calls for a full accounting and compensation for the victims.

This handout picture taken and released by the Ukrainian presidential press service shows Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky placing flowers at a memorial for the victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crash in the Iranian capital Tehran, at the Boryspil airport outside Kiev on 9 January 2020. Picture: AFP

PARIS - Iran said Saturday it had unintentionally shot down the Ukrainian airliner that crashed this week outside Tehran killing 176 people, calling it an "unforgivable mistake".

The statement sparked some relief that at least the immediate cause of the disaster would not be concealed amid international calls for a full accounting and compensation for the victims.

Iran has invited the United States, Ukraine, Canada and others to join the crash investigation.

The plane was carrying Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans and Britons.

Herewith are some of the remarks by global leaders in response to Iran's acknowledgement of its responsibility for the catastrophe.

UKRAINE: 'BRING THE GUILTY TO COURT'

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded that Iran punish those responsible, pay compensation and apologise.

"We expect Iran... to bring the guilty to the courts," the Ukrainian leader wrote on Facebook, calling for the "payment of compensation" and the return of remains.

"We hope the inquiry will be pursued without deliberate delay and without obstruction," Zelensky added

He also urged "total access" to the full inquiry for 45 Ukrainian experts and in a tweet called for an "official apology".

CANADA: 'TRANSPARENCY, JUSTICE'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with the country mourning the loss of so many citizens, said closure and accountability were needed after Iran's announcement.

He demanded "transparency, and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims.

"This is a national tragedy, and all Canadians are mourning together," Trudeau's office said in a statement.

RUSSIA: 'MUST LEARN LESSONS'

Iran must "learn lessons" from the disaster, the chairman of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee said.

"If decryption of the black boxes and the work of the investigation do not prove that the Iranian army did this intentionally, and there are no logical reasons for this, the incident must be closed."

EU: PROBE MUST MEET 'INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS'

A European Union statement said the bloc deplored the event, adding: "The EU expects that Iran will continue to cooperate fully and undertake a comprehensive and transparent investigation, which should abide by international standards, into how this tragedy occurred."

FRANCE: 'END ESCALATION'

French Defence Minister Florence Parly said it was "important to seize this moment to give space to discussions and negotiations" on the Iran nuclear deal.

"The lessons that we should learn from the dramatic sequence of events that we have experienced... is that we must put an end to this escalation," Parly told France Inter radio.

GERMANY: 'DRAW THE RIGHT CONSEQUENCES'

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said "it was important that Iran brought clarity to this issue.

"Now Tehran needs to draw the right consequences in the continued appraisal of this dreadful catastrophe, and take measures to ensure that something like this cannot happen again," Mass told Funke media.

SWEDEN: 'COMPLETE AND TRANSPARENT' PROBE

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the "act should be condemned and Iran should assume all responsibility, including for the all persons affected.

"Iran said the plane was shot down in error. This declaration constitutes the basis for a complete and transparent investigation which should shed light on all the circumstances surrounding the incident," a statement said.

AFGHANISTAN: 'OUR HEARTS GO OUT'

Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those innocent souls" who perished, and noted that "13 Afghans were among the victims."