Local universities honour students killed in Iran plane crash one year ago
KITCHENER -- Commemorations across the country are underway for the victims of a passenger jet shot down by the Iranian military one year ago today, including four local university students.
Two students from the University of Waterloo and two from the University of Guelph were among the 176 passengers and crew killed on Flight PS752.
Mari Foroutan and Mansour Esfahani were PhD students at the University of Waterloo.
Ghanimat Azhdari was a PhD student in the department of geography, environment and geomatics at the University of Guelph. She was on her way back to the city after visiting family in Iran for the holidays.
Milad Ghasemi Ariani was also a Guelph student, and was working toward a PhD in the marketing and consumer studies program.
“They were respected and admired among their peers, and driven by a profound love of learning and a strong desire to improve life in our world,” said U of G president Dr. Charlotte Yates in a news release on Thursday.
Following the crash, the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo both created scholarships in honour of the students.
In addition to these students, Western University lost four of its students in the crash, while the University of Windsor said five students/researchers were killed.
A Guelph dentist, Parisa Eghbalian, and her nine-year-old daughter, Reera Esmaeilion, were also among the victims. Eghbalian worked at the south Guelph Dawson Dental office. A post from the dental office said they were mourning on Friday.
Later today, outdoor rallies are to take place in various cities, including Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton.
Commemorations began Thursday night with a live stream at 9:42 p.m. ET, which was the exact time that Flight PS752 took off from the airport.
Moments later it was shot down by the Iranian Military, which has blamed human error for the tragedy.
More than 100 of the victims had ties to Canada and at least 55 were Canadian citizens.
A year later and Canadian authorities are still looking for answers from Iran including an explanation as to what caused a member of its Revolutionary Guard to fire on the civilian plane.
Officials leading the investigation say they don’t expect a definitive report from Iran any time soon.
In the meantime, Iran has offered to compensate victim’s families with $150,000 each.
An offer rejected by Ralph Goodale, the former Liberal public safety minister, who said there is a negotiation process to such things which has not begun and that Iran doesn’t the right to offer compensation unilaterally.
An online memorial started on Thursday night at the exact moment the flight took off from the airport.
It remembered the victims by sharing their stories.
With files from the Canadian Pres and CTVNews.ca.