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World except Tehran think Ukrainian jet hit by Iranian missile

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An investigation has been launched with participation of many experts from around the world, including from Britain and Canada after a Ukrainian International Boeing 737-800 airliner crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, shortly after taking off.

While Iran claims the airliners was brought down by a mechanical issue, world leaders think the jet was hit accidentally by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

It was very likely that an Iranian missile shot down the Ukrainian jetliner, the Dutch foreign minister said on Friday, adding that the European Union's next steps would depend on how Tehran reacts to the results of an investigation, Reuters reported.

"It is indeed very likely that the plane has been shot down by Iranian missiles," Stef Blok told reporters ahead of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

Asked whether Iran should be sanctioned, Blok said: "It depends on the Iranian reaction (to the outcome of independent analysis) on what should be the next steps."

Iran's air defence may have shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane, the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday, according to Reuters.

"It is important that we establish all the facts there... I call on Iran to fully participate and contribute to a transparent and thorough investigation," Stoltenberg told reporters on entering an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers.

"We have no reason to not believe the reports we have seen from different NATO allies... that the plane may have been downed by Iranian air defence systems," he said.

"That's exactly why we need a thorough investigation, to establish all the facts and that's exactly why we have to have full cooperation from the Iranian side in such an investigation," he said.

Canada has intelligence from multiple sources indicating a Ukrainian airliner that crashed on Wednesday near Tehran was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa the destruction of the airliner may well have been unintentional.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday there was a body of evidence that the Ukrainian airliner was downed by a surface to air missile that might well have been fired unintentionally, Reuters reported.

Echoing the conclusion of the United States and Canada, Johnson called for a full and transparent investigation into the crash which killed all 176 people on board including four Britons.

"There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile. This may well have been unintentional," Johnson said in a statement. "The UK continues to call on all sides urgently to deescalate to reduce tensions in the region."