“Everything that’s related to war and people trying to kill each other for the sake of land or oil, it’s always stupid,” Danny Gonzalez told Canada CTV News about Iran shooting down a Ukrainian jet that killed all 176 people on board.
Canada is coping with the news that 57 of the victims were Canadians. Many of them were Iranian-Canadians who had gone to Iran for the holidays and were on the first leg of their return home on the Kyiv-bound jet.
“They came to Canada for a future; there is no future in Iran,” Mahnuash Jannesar, the co-owner of a combination grocery-restaurant in Edmonton, told The New York Times about her customers who died in the doomed flight. “It’s so sad.”
Gonzalez said he started working at a Toronto advertising studio last year on the same day as Alvand Sadeghi, one of the victims. Sadeghi’s wife, sister and 5-year-old niece were also killed in the crash.
Some Iranian-Canadians are upset that Iran has not expressed any sympathy for the victims’ families. Reza Akbari, in Edmonton, told The New York Times that “the amount of support we’ve seen from Canada versus our motherland is something collectively as Canadians we can be proud of. As an Iranian, I’m sad.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted Saturday that it mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian International Airlines flight earlier in the week, just hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers. Iran was retaliating for a recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
“That night we had the readiness for all-out war,” IRGC aerospace commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on state television. He added that the Revolutionary Guard had asked for commercial flights to be canceled, but the request was denied.
Before Iran acknowledged shooting down the jet, some Canadians blamed the U.S. for the disaster.
“If [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump hadn’t ordered the drone strike on Soleimani, all this wouldn’t happen, we wouldn’t be here today grieving,” Ardy Gharagozli told CNN in Toronto.
Saba Saadat, a biology student at the University of Alberta, was another crash victim. Professor Meghan Riddell, the head of the university’s cell biology lab, told The Times that Saadat “was a Ph.D. disguised as an undergraduate.” Saadat’s sister and mother also died in the crash.
“I’ve been trying to put into words how big a tragedy the Ukraine Airlines crash is for Canada,” journalist Muhammad Lila posted on Twitter. “To say it’s huge or massive just isn’t enough.”
Iran has invited Canada, Ukraine, the U.S. and France to participate in the investigation of the crash.