Both black boxes from a Ukranian airliner that crashed just outside Tehran early on Wednesday have been found, according to Iranian state television.
The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed earlier shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport this morning, killing all 176 people on board.
The head of Tehran’s civil aviation authority was previously quoted saying Iran would not give the plane’s black boxes back to Boeing.
Ali Abedzadeh also said it was not clear which country Iran would send the box to for its data to be analysed, according to semi-official Iranian news agency Mehr.
The crash occurred as heightened tensions between Iran and the US raised fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East, but officials have cautioned that speculation about the cause of the fatal crash was premature.
Asked at a briefing in Kiev if the plane could have been downed by a missile, Ukranian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk cautioned against speculation until the results of the investigation were known.
Honcharuk also announced a ban on flights through Iranian airspace by its airlines from tomorrow.
Ukraine’s embassy in Iran has dropped an earlier reference to engine failure being responsible for the crash.
Having initially said that engine failure had caused the tragedy, the embassy later issued a fresh statement on the crash that did not mention engine failure as the cause.
In the second statement, the it said any previous comments made regarding the cause of the crash were not official.
Iranian state media quoted officials from Tehran’s international airport as saying that “technical problems” were behind the crash.
Airlines have moved to divert flights around Iran and Iraq following the crash and an earlier Iranian missile attack on military bases in Iraq housing US-led coalition forces.
Qantas, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Emirates have all said they will change their flight paths to avoid the two countries’ airspace.