For the families of the 57 Canadians killed in the Iranian plane crash, returning their loved ones’ bodies home is proving to be a complicated process.
The majority of the Canadian passengers hold dual citizenship with Iran. Because Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, it insists 140 Iranians were on the flight and just three Canadians.
Farbod Pourjam’s uncle Mansour was on the plane and his family wants to bury Mansour’s body in Canada.
“Mansour was coming to Canada, he was a Canadian,” Pourjam told CTV News. “He has a 13-year-old son here, Ryan, and that’s what Ryan wants.”
Pourjam, an international student, was being sponsored by his uncle, meaning now his life in Canada is in limbo.
“They never just destroyed 176 passengers, they destroyed 176 families,” Pourjam said.
Another major obstacle with bringing the bodies home comes from identifying them. The RCMP is collecting DNA samples from family members to speed up the identification process, but many of the remains have yet to be identified.
Some of the bodies are already on their way to Canada, however. CTV News spoke to a man who expects to get the body of his wife tomorrow, but declined an interview because “the government is sensitive to foreign news agencies.”
Foreign Affairs Canada is hopeful that all the Canadian victims will be returned home in short order.
“We are expecting full co-operation from the Iranian authorities regarding all 57 Canadians,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.
Canada is hosting a meeting of the International Coordination and Response Group in London, England, later this week. The meeting involves most of the countries that lost passengers on the flight and the topic of bringing home the victims’ bodies is expected to be a high priority.