Iran has again rejected suggestions that one of its missiles brought down a Ukrainian passenger jet near the capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.
Its civil aviation chief said on Friday he was “certain” that the plane was not hit by a missile.
He was responding to claims by Western leaders that evidence suggested the plane had been hit by a surface-to-air missile, possibly in error.
New video appeared to show a plane being hit by a projectile over Tehran.
The crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 with the loss of 176 lives came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.
US media have speculated that the airliner may have been mistaken for a warplane as Iran prepared for possible US retaliation.
Victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from Sweden, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany.
Iran has promised a full investigation. However, TV images from the crash site on Thursday showed a mechanical digger helping to clear debris away, raising concerns that vital evidence could have been removed.
What does Iran say?
At a news conference on Friday, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) chief Ali Abedzadeh repeated his view that a missile was not the cause of the crash.
“The thing that is clear to us and that we can say with certainty is that this plane was not hit by a missile,” he told reporters.
“As I said last night, this plane for more than one and a half minutes was on fire and was in the air, and the location shows that the pilot was attempting to return.” -BBC