Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday suggested that the U.S. shares some blame for Iran’s shooting down of a commercial jet last week since the incident occurred during a period of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
“I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said during an interview with Global News TV.
On January 2 the U.S. killed senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike at Iraq’s Baghdad International Airport. Several days later Iran fired ballistic missiles at U.S. positions in Iraq, but then accidentally shot down a civilian passenger plane en route to Ukraine. The Iranian military said the plane was mistaken for an “enemy target.”
Most of the passengers were Iranian or Canadian citizens. Trudeau said Canada was not informed ahead of time of the U.S. strike, but that he would have preferred advance notice.
“The U.S. makes its determinations,” Trudeau said. “We attempt to work as an international community on big issues. But sometimes countries take actions without informing their allies.”
On Thursday, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg also appeared to suggest the U.S. was partly responsible for the crash.
“Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat,” Buttigieg wrote in a Twitter post. “My thoughts are with the families and loved ones” of the victims.
President Trump ordered the strike on Soleimani after several days of pressure on American personnel and positions Iraq.
An Iran-backed militia, Kataib Hezbollah, killed an American contractor on December 27 and injured four other Americans, in response to which the U.S. ordered airstrikes targeting militia members. The group proceeded to lead several days of protests effectively besieging the American embassy in Baghdad.