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Work On Black Boxes Of Ukrainian Jet Downed By Iran To Start Next Month

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Mourners gather at a memorial to victims of the UIA plane crash at Kyiv's Boryspil Airport in February.

The French BEA air-accident investigation agency says "technical work" on the black boxes of a downed Ukrainian airliner is expected to kick off in France next month.

The cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 were the subject of an international standoff after the plane was shot down by Iran's air defenses on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.

The Kyiv-bound aircraft was struck after taking off from Tehran's main airport in what Iran days later acknowledged was a "mistake."

Iran said on June 22 it would send the black boxes to France in the "next few days."

BEA, which is known as one of the world's leading organizations for reading flight recorders, tweeted on June 26 that Iran had "requested...technical assistance" with repairing and downloading data from the black boxes of the Boeing 737.

"Technical work [is] planned to start July 20," it said, adding that "the safety investigation is led by Iran."

The International Civil Aviation Organization said it had been informed by Iran that the black boxes "would be read out in France on 20 July...assuring the participation of representatives from all countries involved."

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said that it "will be sending a team of investigators to participate in the download" of the black boxes, which are expected to contain information about the last moments before the aircraft was struck and crashed.

The 176 victims of the crash included 82 Iranian citizens and 63 Canadians, many of them of Iranian origin.

Iranian forces had been on high alert at the time of the tragedy, which came hours after Iran launched missile strikes on an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops.

The Iranian strikes were carried out in response to the killing of a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad's airport.

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