Canada's Foreign Affairs Department says Ukraine will lead negotiations with Iran over compensation for the families of victims of the crash of Flight PS752.

After first denying it, Iran admitted one of its air-defence batteries shot the Ukraine International Airlines jet down in January, killing all 176 people on the plane.

Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were aboard, on the first leg of a trip from Iran to Canada via Kyiv, Ukraine. Many more were nationals of other countries returning to Canada as students and researchers after the December break.

The federal government said Canada, Afghanistan, Sweden and the United Kingdom have agreed that Ukraine will be their spokesperson in talks over compensation.

The members of the International Co-ordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight PS752 settled on "a common approach to holding the Iranian regime accountable and signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation regarding negotiations on reparations by Iran, paving the way for state-to-state negotiations," Global Affairs Canada said.

Iran has said it shot the airliner down unintentionally, after mistaking it for a hostile target hours after Iran fired missiles at U.S. and coalition bases in neighbouring Iraq.

Those missiles were a response to the American killing of Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a major figure in its regional geopolitical manoeuvring.

After months of delays that Iran attributes to the COVID-19 pandemic, it agreed to send the plane's recovered data recorder to France for an analysis to be done July 20.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020.