Criminal proceedings launched by Ukraine
Iran is facing mounting pressure to explain the destruction of a civilian airliner near Tehran hours after Iranian forces launched missile strikes against US forces.
Three Britons were among 176 people killed when an Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 plunged into a nosedive and exploded shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Ayatollah Khomeini International Airport on Wednesday morning.
Iran dismissed speculation that the aircraft had been downed by a missile but said it would not hand over the black boxes from the aircraft to Boeing, in an unusual move likely prompted by high tensions with the United States.
Earlier Ukraine withdrew an initial statement attributing the crash to engine failure and ruling out a terror attack, sparking an international scramble to investigate the crash.
The crash came three and a half hours after Iran fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq in what it said was revenge for the assassination of general Qassim Soleimani.
Iran’s military said it had fired 22 missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops in Erbil and Ain al-Asad. No US or Iraqi troops were killed in the half-hour bombardment.
Leaders in both Tehran and Washington played down the prospect of further armed conflict between the adversaries. In a televised address Donald Trump claimed that Iran "appeared to be standing down" and said he would impose further economic sanctions, but did not mention further military action.
Although Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, termed the strikes a “slap in the face” for America and vowed to continue a campaign to oust US forces from the region, the Iranian foreign minister, said the strikes "concluded" Iran's military response to the assassination of Soleimani.
The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800 bound for Kyiv took off shortly after 6 AM Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport early on Wednesday morning.
Footage filmed by a local man showed the aircraft trailing fire before it dived into the ground and exploded in a large fireball shortly after 6am local time.
Din Mohammad Qassemi, a local villager watching the TV said he heard an almighty explosion. Assuming he was under attack from the Americans, he dived below ground into his basement.
“All the houses started to shake. There was fire everywhere,” said Mr Qassemi. “At first I thought (the Americans) have hit here with missiles and went in the basement as a shelter.”
Dead bodies, fragments of aircraft, and the victims personal belongings were discovered at the crash site near the village of Fedosiye, about 10 miles from the airport.
The victims included 83 Iranians and 63 Canadians, according to a flight manifest released by UIA.
Ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and eleven Ukrainians including the nine crew members were also killed.
Flags were lowered to half mast in Ottawa and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, issued a statement promising to work with allies to ensure a full investigation. Canada does not have an embassy in Tehran.
The three British passport holders on board the flight included Saeed Tahmasebi, a chartered Engineer with Laing O’Rourke who was completing a PhD at Imperial College.
He was returning with his wife Niloofar Ebrahim, a fellow Iranian studying Psychology in London, from their wedding in Tehran. Sam Zokaei, 42, an engineer who worked for the BP Exploration Operating Company and lived in Richmond, had been on holiday and had been visiting relatives.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, a forty year old father of one from Brighton, had been in Iran to visit family over the Christmas break. Iranian media said both flight recorders had been found, but the investigation into the crash is likely to be complicated by the stand off between the United State and Iran.
Ali Abedzadeh, the head of the Iranian civil aviation authority, said the government would not hand over the black boxes to Boeing, a US company, and that it was unclear which country would be asked to analyse them.
Iran may have the ability to extract data from black boxes but would have to call on the expertise of one of a handful of countries, including the US, France, and Britain, if they are badly damaged.
Western intelligence agencies quoted by Reuters said they shared Iran's initial assessment that the aircraft had not been hit by a missile.
Iranian officials said the pilot lost control of the aircraft after a fire struck fire one of its engines.
"The rumors about the plane are completely false and no military or political expert has confirmed it," said Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the Iranian armed forces,
But aviation experts last night queried whether the plane could have been destroyed by simple engine failure and friends and family of the three British victims demanded an investigation into the circumstances of the crash.
David Learmount, Consulting Editor at FlightGlobal, told the Telegraph that the failure of the crew to send out a Mayday signal suggested they faced “a sudden and violent” event that forced them to fight for control of the aircraft.
“Even a catastrophic engine failure would be highly unlikely to have such a dramatic effect on control of the aircraft. A 737 is capable of flying safely on just one of its two engines,” he said.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran initially posted but then deleted a statement attributing the crash to engine failure. Later Oleksiy Honcharuk, the Ukrainian prime minister, refused to rule out the possibility that it had been shot down at a briefing in Kyiv.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, said he had dispatched a team of experts including ministry of defence and civil aviation personnel to Iran to investigate the crash and repatriate the remains of the Ukrainians killed.
"Our priority is to establish the truth and those responsible for this terrible catastrophe," he said.
Boeing said: "We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed," the manufacturer said in a statement.”
UIA said that the 737-800 that was destroyed was one of its “best” and had undergone maintenance just two days earlier.
It said that it could not believe that an error by the experienced crew could have caused the crash.
Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, said his government would “continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated and Canadians’ questions are answered.”
Mr Pompeo said the United States would offer Ukraine full support to complete the investigation. Boris Johnson last night called Mr Trudeau to express his condolences for the loss of Canadian lives.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was "working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities" over the crash but that there was “no indication” that it had been hit by a missile.
The loss of an airliner during a period of international conflict raises bitter memories for both Ukraine and Iran.
In 2014 a Russian missile shot down a Malaysian airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.
In 1988 an American warship shot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people. The shootdown of Iran Air 655 is still bitterly felt in Iran. Earlier this week Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, said Donald Trump should “remember the number 290.”
Crash one of worst losses of life for Canadians in an aviation disaster
At least 63 Canadians were killed in the crash, but Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the number of deceased Canadians could change as more information becomes available, including details on dual citizens.
The crash is one of the worst losses of life for Canadians in an aviation disaster. Many passengers on board were international students as the Tehran to Toronto route via Kyiv is considered affordable.
Payman Paseyan, a member of the Iranian-Canadian community in Edmonton, Alberta, said about 27 people from Edmonton, including international students and a family of four that he knew, were on the flight.
Two professors from the University of Alberta, Pedram Mousavibafrooei and Mojgan Daneshmand, and their daughters died.
Mr Paseyan said most of victims were visiting family in Iran over the holidays. He said many were dual citizens and international students.
"One of the reasons why you take that flight is you wouldn't want to take a flight that has a connection in the United States because international students can't do that," he said.
The University of Guelph in Canada said two PhD students, as well as the partner of one of the students, were among the 176 who died. Ghanimat Azhdari was a student in the department of geography and Milad Ghasemi was a student in marketing. Azhdari's partner, Hamed Alibeiki, also died.
Western University said four of their students died. Three were current graduate students and one was an incoming graduate student. They did not name the students.
Canada is urging Canadians to avoid non-essential travel to Iran due to the volatile security situation.
Dominic Raab offers condolences after 'tragic loss of life'
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab offered his condolences to those affected by the crash.
He said on Twitter: "I would like to express the UK's deepest condolences to all the families of the victims of the UIA crash in Iran today.
"This is a tragic loss of life for all countries affected. Foreign Office staff are assisting the families of British victims at this difficult time."
I would like to express the UK's deepest condolences to all the families of the victims of the UIA crash in Iran today. This is a tragic loss of life for all countries affected. @foreignoffice staff are assisting the families of British victims at this difficult time
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) January 8, 2020
Meanwhile, a Downing Street spokesman said the UK was "working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities" over the crash.
The spokesman said there was "no indication" the plane was brought down by a missile, after the Ukrainian authorities refused to rule out the prospect.
Crew's inability to transmit emergency call before crash confuses aviation experts
Aviation expert David Learmount has said the crew's failure – or inability - to communicate has confused aviation experts, "because the implication is that whatever happened was sudden and violent, forcing the crew immediately to fight for control".
The crew of the Boeing 737-800 did not have the capacity to transmit an emergency call before it descended out of control to impact on the edge of the city.
Mr Learmount said: "Even a catastrophic engine failure – a possibility originally mooted by the Ukrainian authorities but then withdrawn – would be highly unlikely to have such a dramatic effect on control of the aircraft. A 737 is capable of flying safely on just one of its two engines.
"Video released online soon after the accident shows what looks like an aircraft engulfed in flames descending unsteady, parts separating from it as it plunged.
"This video has not yet been authenticated, but if it does indeed show the Ukrainian 737 in its fatal descent, it explains why the Ukrainian authorities, asked whether the aircraft might have been brought down by a missile, have refused to rule it out."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls for 'complete cooperation' in investigations into crash
Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, has called for "complete cooperation" in any investigation into the cause of the crash.
He said in a statement: "The U.S. Department of State extends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the 176 passengers and crew killed in the tragic crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752.
"The United States will continue to follow this incident closely and stands prepared to offer Ukraine all possible assistance. The United States calls for complete cooperation with any investigation into the cause of the crash."
Trump: Britain and others must withdraw from Iran deal
President Trump did not comment directly on the Tehran plane crash, focusing instead on the 22 missiles fired at US forces in Iraq on Wednesday night.
Flanked by senior administration officials, Mr Trump doubled down on his decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassim Soleimani, saying the attack sent "a powerful message to potential terrorists".
Mr Trump called on Britain and other European countries to withdraw from the Iran deal, as the US has already done. He added that more sanctions are set to hit Iran, but that he does not want to use military force against Iran unless necessary.
Trump said he would ask Nato to get "much more involved" in the Middle East peace process.
You can read more on our missile attack live blog here.
President Trump speaks publicly for first time following crash
The President has begun his press conference and is joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Ukraine to send team of experts to Iran to 'establish the truth'
President Trump is currently 20 minutes behind schedule to make his televised address.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the country will send a team of experts to Iran in order to "establish the truth" surrounding the catastrophe.
Ukraine will send security officials, experts and rescuers to assist in the investigation and recovery of the bodies of Ukrainian nationals from the wreckage of flight PS752.
In a statement on the presidential website, Mr Zelenskyy said: "Our priority is to establish the truth and those responsible for this terrible catastrophe."
President Trump to make imminent statement on Iran crisis
President Donald Trump will address escalating tension with Iran in a press conference at 11am EST (4pm GMT).
It it thought that Mr Trump will comment on the Tehran plane crash. Watch the President's address at the top of this article.
Canada's questions will be answered, says Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister, has said that his nation's questions will be answered after it was confirmed 63 citizens had been killed in the plane crash.
— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) January 8, 2020
His Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne also paid tribute.
Tragic news regarding Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Our hearts are with the loved ones of the victims, including many Canadians. I have been in touch with the government of Ukraine. We will continue to keep Canadians informed as the situation evolves. #PS752
— François-Philippe Champagne (FPC) ���� (@FP_Champagne) January 8, 2020
'Not a chance of crew error,' airline says
In an updated statement, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) said: "According to our records, the aircraft ascended as high as 2,400 metres.
"Given the crew's experience, error probability is minimal. We do not even consider such a chance."
Tributes to 'lovely man with lovely smile'
Staff at a pet store have paid tribute to Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh, who ran a neighbouring dry cleaners and was one of the three Britons killed in a plane crash in Iran.
Staff at Hassocks Pet Centre, West Sussex, paid tribute to "a lovely man [with] a lovely smile".
Store owner Stephen Edgington, 68, said: "Reza was a lovely guy. He was good looking, sociable.
"Before he left we were chatting and he said 'do you realise I have been here so many years?'."
Mr Edgington, who works at the store with his wife Nola, said they were told what had happened on Wednesday morning by Mr Kadkhoda-Zadeh's staff.
Reservoir engineer one of three Britons killed
BP has confirmed one of those killed in the Tehran plane crash as reservoir engineer Sam Zokaei, who has worked at the oil company for more than 14 years.
Mr Zokaei, from Twickenham, London, was on holiday from working at BP's site at Sunbury-on-Thames in Middlesex.
The company said in a statement: "With the deepest regret, we can confirm that one of our colleagues at BP, Sam Zokaei, was a passenger on the Ukrainian International Airlines plane that crashed in Iran this morning, reportedly with no survivors.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague, and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends."
Briton killed was 'brilliant engineer with bright future'
Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was one of the three Britons killed.
A spokesman for Imperial College London, where Engineer he was a post-graduate researcher, said: "We are deeply saddened at this tragic news.
"Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
"His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.
"He was a warm, humble and generous colleague, and close friend to many in our community.
"Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed's family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy."
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas among slew of airlines avoiding Middle East airspace
British Airways rerouted flight 134 from Mumbai to Heathrow mid-way through the flight, to avoid crossing Iraqi airspace.
The plane flew in a circle and was then diverted to the Greek capital Athens for refuelling.
The move has left a number of Indian passport holders stuck in the terminal as they do not possess the right visa to leave the airport.
A number of commercial airlines have rerouted flights to avoid possible danger amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 8, 2020
Virgin Atlantic said they were "closely monitoring the situation" and were not flying over Iranian airspace. Due to changes in flight routing, their trips to and from Mumbai might now take longer than expected.
Australian carrier Qantas said it was altering its London to Perth, Australia routes to avoid Iran and Iraq airspace until further notice.
Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines have also rerouted planes to avoid Iranian airspace.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has barred American pilots and carriers from flying in areas of Iraqi, Iranian and some Persian Gulf airspace.
Iran plane crash analysis: What happened mid-air and who has the black box?
Our Industry Editor Alan Tovey has this piece of analysis on the doomed flight.
In it, he looks at what happened during the last seconds of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight from Tehran to Kyiv, the reaction and what happens now.
Read it in full here.
Three Britons killed in Tehran plane crash named
The three Britons killed in a plane crash in Tehran have been unofficially identified as Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, Saeed Tahmasebi Khademsadi, 35, and Sam Zokaei, also 35.
Read Chief Reporter Robert Mendick's piece on the victims here.
At a glance: The Boeing 737-800
The first thing to note about the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 is that the aircraft was a Boeing 737-800, a different model to the 737 Max, the type which was grounded last year after two crashes in five months, reports Industry Editor Alan Tovey.
The 737-800 - part of Boeing’s 737 Next Generation (NG) family - does not have the “MCAS” control system fitted to the Max, and which is blamed for the two crashes.
A modernised version of the 737 classic model dating from the 1960s, 737 NGs are one of the most popular airliners ever.
More than 7,000 737 NGs, of which about 5,000 are the 800 model, are in service and the aircraft has a very good safety record. Prior to PS752, there had been nine accidents involving the aircraft type which have resulted in fatalities.
One was the result of a mid-air collision, and all but one of the rest have been attributed to either weather problems, pilot error, maintenance issues or a combination of these factors. The final incident saw an engine failure which sent debris into the cabin, causing the aircraft to decompress. A passenger was partially sucked from the aircraft and later died from her injuries.
Overall, the 737 NG has a fatal crash rate of 0.06 fatalities per million flights according to data from Airsafe, making it one of the safest aircraft in service.
However, the 737 NG has not been without problems. In September Boeing ordered all 737 NGs with more than 30,000 flights to be checked after cracks were discovered in the “pickle fork” of a jet undergoing maintenance.
This component is one of the main attachment points for the wing and fuselage and should have a life of about 90,000 flights. Boeing said that about 5pc of the affected aircraft needed repairs.
Boris Johnson calls for de-escalation of Middle East crisis
Boris Johnson said he opposed any further escalation of violence and told MPs: "As far as we can tell there were no casualties last night sustained by the US and no British personnel were injured in the attacks.
"We are doing everything we can to protect UK interests in the region, with HMS Defender and HMS Montrose operating in an enhanced state of readiness to protect shipping in the Gulf."
Mr Johnson said General Soleimani had the "blood of British troops on his hands".
Answering a question from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn about the legality of the drone strike that killed the Iranian general, the PM said the US had the right to defend its bases.
"Clearly the strict issue of legality is not for the UK to determine since it was not our operation," said the PM.
"But I think most reasonable people would accept that the United States has the right to protect its bases and its personnel."
The PM said Gen Soleimani had supplied "improvised explosive devices to terrorists, which I'm afraid killed and maimed British troops".
He added: "That man had the blood of British troops on his hands."
Follow the first Prime Minister's Questions of the decade here.
Ukrainian Prime Minister refuses to rule out plane was hit by missile
Asked at a briefing in Kyiv if the plane could have been downed by a missile, Ukraine's Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk cautioned against speculation until the results of an investigation were known.
The timing of the crash has led to speculation it could have been linked to the offensive that saw rockets from Iran striking US targets overnight, hitting two Iraqi airbases where American and coalition forces are based.
The Iraqi military said it recorded a half hour bombardment between 1.45am and 2.15am local time (10.45am - 11.15am GMT).
The Ukraine Airlines 737 crashed at 6.15am local time in Tehran (2.45am GMT), at more than three hours after the last Iranian ballistic missile barrage ended.
Recap: What happened in the air seconds before crash?
Qassem Biniaz, a spokesman for Iran's Road and Transportation Ministry, said it appeared a fire struck one of its engines.
The pilot of the aircraft then lost control of the plane, sending it crashing into the ground, Biniaz said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
Hassan Razaeifar, the head of air crash investigation committee, said it appeared the pilot couldn't communicate with air-traffic controllers in Tehran in the last moments of the flight. He did not elaborate. Authorities later said they found the plane's so-called "black boxes," which record cockpit conversations and instrument data.
"The only thing that the pilot managed to do was steer the plane towards a soccer field near here instead of a residential area back there," witness Aref Geravand said. "It crashed near the field and in a water canal."
Iran refuses to hand over black box from Ukrainian plane
Iran's aviation authority said it would not hand over to Americans the recovered black boxes of a Boeing 737 that crashed Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew.
"We will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans," Iran Civil Aviation Organisation head Ali Abedzadeh said, quoted by Mehr news agency.
Met Police 'extremely alert' to impact of wider Middle East crisis
Police in the UK are monitoring the wider crisis in Iran and are "extremely alert" to any effect it may have on home soil, the country's most senior officer has said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick told LBC that head of UK counter-terror policing Neil Basu has been in discussions with the security agencies and government bodies about the crisis.
She told host Nick Ferrari: "It's a very worrying time clearly and we have lots of people of Iranian and Iraqi heritage and the surrounding areas in London, so there's lots for us to think about, lots for us to be alert to.
"What I can say is so far in London we have had no issues directly associated with this, there was one quite small protest.
"But of course we're extremely alert to what this could possibly lead to, but it's a very complex situation. At the moment there's absolutely no impact on London."
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is live in the LBC studio, answering questions from listeners. Watch it live. https://t.co/wnxGmCvjCs
— LBC (@LBC) January 8, 2020
Dame Cressida, herself a former chief of counter-terrorism policing, said the force is "very adept" at measuring possible domestic threats linked to international events.
"Being the international city that we are, with the multiplicity of communities and also the threats that we have had to face over the years which change and morph all the time, we are very, very adept at seeing what's happening around the world, reaching out into communities and looking at the possible threats and risks that might come," she said.
"That's what we're doing on a day by day basis, and in response to this."
The UK's terror threat level remains at substantial, meaning an attack is likely.
Foreign Office 'deeply saddened' by loss of life in Iran plane crash
The Foreign Office has issued a statement on the Iran plane crash.
BREAKING | Foreign Office "deeply saddened" by Iran plane crash and "urgently seeking confirmation about how many British nationals were on board".
Full statement here: pic.twitter.com/Q4Curn1yGg
— Gareth Davies (@GD10) January 8, 2020
Chinese airline becomes latest to avoid Iran
China Southern - a Chinese airline - has cancelled an Urumqi to Tehran flight which was scheduled to depart on Wednesday.
Map of where the plane came down
Flight data from the airport showed a Ukrainian 737-800 flown by Ukraine International Airlines took off on Wednesday morning, then stopped sending data about eight minutes later, according to tracking website FlightRadar24.
Here is a look at where the plane came down in relation to the the airport and its scheduled destination - Kyiv.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 8, 2020
It also tracks the plane's altitude up to the moment it disappeared from the radar.
Ukraine withdraws statement ruling out terror or rocket attack
Having initially said the plane crash was due to engine failure and not foul play, there is now a new statement on the Ukrainian embassy website.
It reads: "A commission is working to clarify the causes of the plane crash. Any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the findings of the commission are not official."
The earlier line ruling out terrorism or a rocket attack as possible causes have been removed.
Russia warns against 'rushed theories' on crash
Russia has offered its condolences and warned against "rushed theories" about the cause of the crash, Theo Merz reports.
Senator Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote on Facebook: "A terrible crash of a Ukrainian airliner in Tehran. It looks like no one survived. Was it a technical malfunction? A mistake of the crew? A terror attack? Only an investigation will show and one must refrain from any rushed theories."
He said the Russian embassy was working to clarify if there were any of its citizens on board.
"I would like to offer sincere condolences to all the families and loved ones of the deceased, whatever their nationality. We share the Ukrainian people's grief."
MP Leonid Slutskiy said on his Telegram messaging channel: "The reasons of the crash are yet to be assessed. The tragedy must not be used for political purposes - sinking to the level of groundless accusations against Tehran or anti-Iranian rhetoric."
Ukrainian President instructs prosecutors to open criminal proceedings
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, said his government was working to understand the causes of the crash.
He has cut short a trip to Oman and returning to Kyiv and instructed Ukraine's prosecutors to open criminal proceedings over the crash.
Mr Zelenskyy, in a statement on the president's website, said he had ordered the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to open criminal proceedings over the UIA plane crash in Tehran.
He said: "An investigation commission should be set up of representatives of the civil and aviation agencies responsible for civil aviation. We have to work out all the possible versions.
"Regardless of the conclusions regarding the causes of the Iranian catastrophe, the airworthiness of the entire civilian fleet will be tested.
"I keep all measures on personal control. I very much ask everyone to refrain from speculation and putting forward untested versions of the disaster before the official announcements."
Russia suspends flights over Iran and Iraq
As the tension in the Middle East heightens, Moscow has called off any flights that use the airspace over Iran and Iraq.
A telegram from the Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency said: "In connection with the information on the existing risks to the security of international flights of civil aircraft before the subsequent notification, the Federal Air Transport Agency recommends not using the airspace over the territories of Iran, Iraq, the Persian and Oman gulfs for flights of civil aircraft of the Russian Federation, including transit flights."
Air France has also suspended flights over the region.
'Nothing wrong with plane', says Ukrainian airline
Ukrainian International Airlines(UIA) has appeared to bite back at claims its plane came down because of engine failure.
The airline said there was "nothing wrong" with its plane.
It is understood the plane that crashed just outside the Iranian capital last passed a planned technical service just two days ago on Jan 6.
President of UIA Yevgeny Dykhne told a press briefing: "The aircraft was in good condition... We guarantee the serviceability of our aircraft and the high qualification of our crews"
Kyiv confirms British citizens were on board flight
The Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko has revealed the nationalities of those on board.
He said Kyiv is aware of the "following information on the countries of origin of those killed in the crash".
Наразі нам відома наступна інформація щодо країн походження загиблих в катастрофі #PS752:
Іран - 82;
Канада - 63;
Україна - 2 + 9(екіпаж);
Швеція - 10;
Афганістан - 4;
ФРН - 3;
Велика Британія - 3.
Висловлюємо наші співчуття. Українська влада продовжує розслідування.
— Vadym Prystaiko (@VPrystaiko) January 8, 2020
Iran - 82
Canada - 63
Ukraine - 2 + 9 (crew)
Sweden - 10
Afghanistan - 4
Germany - 3
United Kingdom - 3
Flights to Tehran 'suspended indefinitely' by Ukrainian airline
Ukraine International Airlines has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely, according to Reuters.
Boeing 'aware of media reports'
Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the company was aware of media reports of a plane crash in Iran and was gathering more information.
Three British citizens on board, says local media
A local media outlet in the Ukraine claims there were British citizens on board.
Obozrevatel, a popular news website in the country, said there were also 71 Canadians on board, quoting sources.
Ukrainian citizens - 15
Iranian citizens - 71
Canadian citizens - 73
German citizens - 4
UK citizens - 3
Swedish citizens - 8
Afghan citizens - 6
The Foreign Office was not immediately available for comment and the figures from Obozrevatel have not been confirmed.
But the Ukraine Security Council said there were 11 Ukrainians on board, including nine crew, according to Reuters.
Iran plane crash, in pictures
Special flights on standby to take bodies back to Ukraine
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has special flights are on standby to take bodies back to Kyiv.
The planes will need permission from Iran.
What we know so far
Boeing 737 crashed eight minutes after taking off
All 176 aboard killed, 167 passengers and nine crew
Plane appeared to be on fire before it hit the ground
Engine failure to blame, says Ukraine
Video: 'Plane falls from the sky'
Ali Hashem, a BBC correspondent, tweeted a video which he claimed showed the plane falling through the air while aflame before crashing into the ground and exploding.
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) January 8, 2020
What type of plane was it?
The plane that came down this morning was a Boeing 737-800.
This is similar to but not the same as the 737 Max 8 aircraft, which has been grounded since two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that have brought huge scrutiny to Boeing.
The 737-800 uses a different software system to that of the Max 8.
The Ukraine International Airlines jet that crashed this morning was believed to be less than four years old.
The airline has not yet made a statement.
Rescuers sift through wreckage
Iranian officials and emergency crews are at the crash site in Tehran, investigating the cause of the crash earlier this morning.
'Impossible that anyone survived'
The head of Iran's Red Crescent has said they do not expect survivors at the crash site. "Obviously it is impossible that passengers" on flight PS-752 are alive, he told Iranian state news.
'176 people' on board
Iranian state TV news are claiming that the flight had 176 people on board - 167 passengers and nine crew.
All passengers dead - Ukraine's president
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, has confirmed that all 170 passengers aboard the Boeing 737 in Tehran have been killed.
He offered condolences to the families of the victims and said his government was working to understand the causes of the crash.