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Iran may tap sovereign fund to pay compensation for downed jet: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows rescue teams searching amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini international airport near the Iranian capital Tehran on January 8, 2020.

Iran may decide to use its sovereign wealth fund to pay compensation for a Ukrainian airliner that was downed near Tehran early this year amid high military tensions with the United States.

The semi-official ISNA news agency said that Iranian authorities had proposed to tap the National Development Fund (NDF) to pay nearly $200 million in compensation for the plane which was shot down just after it took off from an airport near Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people onboard.

“Of course this issue is not final and if the proposal is approved, its details will be decided by what is included in the budget bill,” said the report as it made a reference to preparations for concluding a fiscal law governing the next Iranian calendar year beginning March 19, 2021.

The report cited sources from the Iranian insurance industry who said that compensation for passengers and the Boeing 737 plane that belonged to Ukraine International Airlines could amount to $150 million.

However, the report said government authorities have estimated that the compensation that would be offered to Ukraine would amount to nearly $200 million.

It said that any decision on tapping the NDF for the compensation would need the approval of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

That comes as a domestic investigation into the case have yet to shed light on the real causes of the downing of the Ukrainian plane, an incident that took place hours after Iran fired missiles at an Iraqi military base hosting American forces.

The missile attack came in response to a fatal airstrike by the US on January 3 targeting the convoy of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani and his Iranian and Iraqi companions.

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