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City unites to remember Iranian plane crash victims (edmontonjournal.com)



A memorial was held at Edmonton City Hall on Saturday February 22, 2020. The Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton paid tribute to the members of their community who perished in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on January 8, 2020 when it was shot down by the military in Iran. The aircraft was carrying 176 people, including nine crew members and 15 children. There were a total of 63 Canadians on board, including 13 passengers from Edmonton. (PHOTO BY LARRY WONG/POSTMEDIA)


Members of Edmonton’s Iranian community gathered at city hall Saturday to grieve those lost in last month’s deadly plane crash near Tehran — sharing their sadness and more than a little anger.

“Over the last 45 days, the Iranian-Canadian community have gone through a roller coaster of emotions,” said Pegah Salari from the top of the stairs in city hall’s main atrium, which had been draped in black.

“The gravity of the loss has been even more unbearable knowing the reason behind that tragedy.”

One-hundred-seventy-six people died when Iranian anti-aircraft missiles struck Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 shortly after takeoff on Jan. 8.

Sixty-three of the passengers were Canadian. Thirteen were from Edmonton.

Iranian officials admitted three days later to shooting down the plane but claimed the act was unintentional. The Iranian government has yet to release plane’s black box.

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More than a dozen speakers shared remembrances, as well as music and poetry. Mayor Don Iveson presented the community with a book of condolences, which had been available for people to sign at city hall.

City unites to remember Iranian plane crash victims 13 |


Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson hugs Javad Soleimani Meimandi during a memorial held at Edmonton City Hall on Saturday February 22, 2020. The Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton paid tribute to the members of their community who perished in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on January 8, 2020.

Among the speakers was Javad Soleimani Meimandi, a University of Alberta PhD student whose wife Elnaz Nabiy died in the crash.

“Dear Elnaz, please come back home,” he said mournfully.

Salari said some of the victims’ families have been harassed by the Iranian regime. Last month, the National Post reported families have been told “not to talk to the media, keep their mourning as private as possible and even publicly praise the regime that mistakenly shot down their loved ones’ airliner.”

“The Canadian Iranian community in Edmonton, as well as all Iranians across the world will not forgive, and will not forget, until justice has been done,” Salari said.

“With our presence today, we show them that they are not alone. We are in this together, and we will not rest until all aspects of this tragedy are clear, and responsible parties are held accountable.”

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