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Trudeau meets crash victims' families amid threat of new tensions with Iran

Last Updated Jan 10, 2020 at 5:11 pm EST

Members of Montreal's Iranian community attend a vigil in downtown Montreal on Jan. 9, 2020, to mourn victims of the Iranian air crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrej Ivanov

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with families of the victims of Wednesday’s plane crash in Iran, which killed 176 people, including 138 who were bound for Canada.

The private conversations in Toronto on Friday come as there is a looming threat of fresh tensions between Iran and the West.

U.S. officials say they are levelling new sanctions against Tehran for having launched ballistic missile attacks earlier this week against two bases in Iraq housing American soldiers, one of which also contained Canadian forces.

Iran, meanwhile, is denying that one of its missiles brought down the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed near Tehran.

Iran and Ukraine are calling on the U.S. and Canada to release information backing such allegations as Canadian officials are preparing to participate in the investigation into the crash.

Canada’s foreign minister says Iran has granted it just two visas so far as Canada seeks to have investigators and consular officials in the country after a Ukrainian plane crashed, killing 176 people, including at least 63 Canadians.

Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted Friday that he hopes more visas will be approved soon so Canada’s Transportation Safety Board can participate in the investigation and officials from his department can provide consular services and help in the identification of victims.

He says representatives of Global Affairs and the safety board are currently stationed in Ankara, Turkey, and awaiting more visas. Global Affairs didn’t immediately say how many visas Canada needs.

Champagne is expected speak at 6 p.m. to provide an update on the plane crash.

Iran this morning released images purportedly showing the plane’s two black boxes, which contain recorded data from the jetliner, though it remains unclear whether it will turn the boxes over to outside investigators.

With files from The Associated Press