Iranian students killed in plane attack honoured

By: Lynn  Desjardins
Western University is just one of several Canadian institutions mourning the death of their students after the Iranian military shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet one year ago. Of the 176 people who died in the crash, more than 100 had ties to Canada and at least 55 were Canadian citizens. Dozens were Iranian students on their way to Canadian universities.
Western University lost four students and has announced a new scholarship in the name of one of them. A PhD graduate in chemistry, contributed $30,000 to create a scholarship to honour Hadis Hayatdavoudi, said to be a brilliant researcher in chemistry.
Many Canadian universities have held memorials to honour their students who died in the crash. The Globe and Mail reports there are nearly 10,000 students from Iran attending Canadian universities. It notes that the Iranian revolution in 1979 prompted many academics to leave the country and seek stability in Canada. They encouraged others to come study at Canadian universities.

Families refuse compensation, want answers

Many Canadians lost family members and friends in the plane crash. Memorial services began across the country yesterday and several outdoor rallies take place today.
At first, Iran denied responsibility for downing the jet, but later admitted it was shot down because it was mistaken for a missile. The government of Iran has offered to pay $150,000 to each of the families of the victims. But many say they don’t want money, they want answers about why this happened.
A former Canadian cabinet minister responsible for the government’s response to the crash has also rejected the proposed compensation. Ralph Goodale told Canadian Press wire service that the final amount will be subject to negotiations between Iran and the other countries which lost citizens. He added he wants answers from Iran to many questions such as why it kept its airspace open to commercial jets when the military had fired missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq in the hours before the Ukrainian jet was hit.
The government of Canada says it will designate January 8 of every year as a National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Air Disasters.