Iranians light candles for victims of Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 as they protest in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, 11 January 2020. (EPA-EFE)

March 23, 2020

Hamed Esmaeilion is a dentist and writer in Canada whose wife, Parisa, and 10-year-old daughter Reera perished on January 8 when the Revolutionary Guards shot down Ukrainian Airline Flight 752 over Tehran.

In video he has made available to IranWire, Esmaeilion tells us how the arrival of the Iranian new year feels with his loved ones gone. He says that last year was not a good year for Iranians. It started with devastating floods, there was the death of “Blue Girl,” a young woman who self-immolated in protest against forced hijab, followed by nationwide protests during which hundreds or thousands of protesters were gunned down by government forces, succeeded by the downing of Flight 752 and, ultimately, followed by the coronavirus epidemic.

Yesterday was “the last day of 1398,” says Esmaeilion, referring to the Iranian calendar. “It’s been 85 days since my wife Parisa and daughter Reera visited Iran, and 75 days since they tried to fly back to our home in Canada; 75 days since the criminal downing of the Ukrainian airliner over Tehran.”

“I could not bring myself to set up the haft-seen,” he adds, referring to a new year’s arrangement of seven symbolic items, in a home where Nowruz used to bring his family joy. Instead, Esmaeilion says, “I put up Parisa’s and Reera’s pictures and lit candles. We will take the haft-seen to their resting place as a symbol of Iranian traditions.”

Emaeilion hopes that, in the coming year, those who stood by the families of people killed in the downing of the Ukrainian passenger jet will continue to support their quest for justice.

“I have no wish other than to see justice is done,” he says, “To see the murderers stand trial in a just and impartial court.”

Iran Wire

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.