The official leading the investigation into the Ukrainian plane shot down by Iran has appeared to backtrack on plans to send the black boxes abroad for analysis, a day after saying they would be sent to Kyiv.
However in an apparent u-turn, he was quoted by the state-run Tasnim news agency as saying: “The flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out."
He said Iran was working to recover the data and cabin recordings, and that it may send the flight recorders – commonly known as black boxes – to Ukraine or France. “But as of yet, we have made no decision.”
Iranian officials previously said the black boxes were damaged but usable.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard's air defences shot the plane down shortly after it took off from Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.
Officials say lower-level officers mistook the plane for a retaliatory US cruise missile.
The other five nations have demanded Iran accept full responsibility and pay compensation to the victims’ families.
The plane was a Boeing 737-800 that was designed and built in the US.
The plane’s engine was designed by CFM International, a joint company between French group Safran and US group GE Aviation.
Investigators from both countries have been invited to take part in the probe.