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Iran most likely brought down airliner with missiles, says US

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"The NTSB has designated an accredited representative to the investigation of the crash, involving a Boeing 737-800", the statement said. It said it could ask Russia, Canada, France or Ukraine if it needed help.

However, leaders have also said the strike could have been a mistake amid rocket launches and high tension throughout the region.

On Friday morning the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on "international partners" to share any information they had on the crash.

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

The incident adds to global pressure on Iran, after months of tension with the United States and then tit-for-tat military strikes.

Most of the passengers were Iranians and Canadians.

Iran has not officially commented on the speculation, although some Iranians posted pictures dismissing the idea.

If the U.S. or Canada were to present incontrovertible evidence that the plane was shot down by Iran, even if unintentionally, it could have a dramatic impact on public opinion in Iran.

He added that the investigation team was still waiting for information from the aircraft's black box.

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has held the Iranian missile responsible for the incident that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 at the Tehran airport.

But western leaders have since said that intelligence suggests the plane appeared to have been unintentionally hit by a surface-to-air missile hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at two USA bases in Iraq to avenge the killing of General Qassem Soleimani in a United States air strike.

The French air accident investigation agency (BEA) is also taking part in the probe.

The accident took place minutes after Iran's missile attack on United States bases in Iraq. There was an explosion in the vicinity and heat data showed the plane on fire as it fell.

But unidentified officials told USA media that satellite, radar and electronic data indicated Tehran's air defence units downed the aircraft. No one was injured in those attacks, and President Donald Trump said Wednesday that it appeared that Iran was "standing down".

A defense expert said the plane's radar signature would have been similar to a US military transport plane.

The footage, which The New York Times said it had verified, shows a fast-moving object rising at an angle into the sky before a bright flash is seen, which dims and then continues moving forward.

But Iran's aviation authority chief said the missile theory could not be "scientifically correct" because it was not possible for an airliner to be hit and "continue flying for 60 to 70 seconds". However, the country refused to give the black boxes back to Boeing, which raised further speculations that the plane might have been shot. Washington and Ottawa do not have diplomatic relations with Tehran.

The flight went down in the dark just minutes after takeoff, with no radio message from the pilot to indicate distress, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization.

Investigations into airliner crashes can take months and initial reports in 24 hours are rare.