Skip to main content

June 11, 2021
Biden Must Cease Iranian Nuclear Talks Until Justice is Served for Downing of Ukrainian Plane

(This article first appeared in )

By: Adelle Nazarian

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) gruesome and likely intentional shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner with Canadian passengers on board on January 8, 2020, was recently condemned by Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice as a “shameful” act of terrorism.

Now, it is time for the Biden administration to do the same.

Ukraine Airlines commercial airliner Flight PS752, a Boeing 737-800 headed for Kyiv, Ukraine, was eliminated with two surface-to-air M-1 missiles shortly after it took off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC). All 176 people on board the flight perished.

Despite the IRI’s attempts to falsely claim that flight PS2752 was shot down accidentally – going so far as blaming the incident on “human error" and saying the IRGC’s missile system was not fully recalibrated -- it is widely believed that this heinous act of terror was carried out intentionally and that the IRI targeted this flight specifically because they believed Americans may have been on board.

The evening the flight was shot down, the IRI had been in the process of firing over a dozen missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for the Trump administration’s assassination of IRGC-Quds Forces Major-General Qassem Soleimani.

The IRI likely thought the flight would make a great target for retaliation. Their attempts to get away with this act of terroristic murder has failed in the court of public opinion.

Now, an actual court has stood up to create a ruling on the case. Late last month, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that , “[t]he plaintiffs have established that the shooting down of Flight 752 by the defendants was an act of terrorism and constitutes ‘terrorist activity.” Belobaba added, "I find on a balance of probabilities that the missile attacks on Flight 752 were intentional and directly caused the deaths of all onboard.”

Iran Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s ruling that the IRI’s act constituted an act of terror was “shameful” and lacked evidence. "Everyone knows that the Canadian court is fundamentally not qualified to judge this aviation accident or potential negligence in an incident that is outside the territory and jurisdiction of Canada," Khatibzadeh said. This response from the IRI is par for the course as any condemnation of the IRI or decision which does not advance their nefarious aims is condemned and dismissed as illegitimate or flawed.

The Iranian Americans for Liberty (IAL) -- a U.S.-based advocacy group committed to strengthening and supporting “U.S. foreign policy and national security solutions that bring democracy, human rights accountability, and freedom of speech to Iranians living under the oppressive, totalitarian Islamic Republic Regime in Iran -- issued a statement in support of the Canadian court’s decision and also called “on President Biden to publicly support Canada’s court decision and to cease and desist all discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran until they take responsibility for murdering 176 souls.”

Several human rights agencies also condemned the IRI for this blatant act of terror. Two independent experts appointed by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council said on February 23, 2020 that Iran committed multiple human rights violations in shooting downing UIA Flight PS752.

However, and as expected, no formal action was taken against the IRI.

In fact, this April, the UN went so far as to appoint – through a secret ballot – the IRI to a four-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the “principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, put it perfectly when he said “electing the Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”

Similarly, allowing the IRI to get away with this heinous and intentional act of terrorism will only continue to enable the regime and its backers to undermine U.S. and international security. It is crucial that the Biden administration take swift action against the IRI for this crime against humanity and hold the IRI accountable for its malfeasance.

It’s important for President Biden to rethink the pending re-entry into the severely flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal.

Rewarding the IRI for its endless acts of terror by rejoining this contract will only further embolden the mullahs in the country to continue their bad behavior.

Otherwise, the rumors that this is Barack Obama’s third term might actually stick.

Adelle Nazarian is a senior media fellow at the Gold Institute for International Strategy and a communications director for several non-government organizations.