Iran Not to Forget Downing of Passenger Plane by US
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iran is commemorating the 31st anniversary of the downing of its passenger plane by a US Navy guided-missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf waters in 1988 in which 290 innocent civilians were killed.
The civilian aircraft, an Airbus A300B2, was flying in Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz from the port city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai, carrying 274 passengers and 16 crew members on July 3, 1988, when USS Vincennes fired two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles at it.
One of the missiles hit the plane, killing all the 290 onboard.
US officials claimed the warship had mistaken Iran Air Flight 655 for a warplane. This is while the warship was equipped with highly sophisticated radar systems and electronic battle gear at the time of the attack.
A year later, the captain of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident, and was even awarded America’s Legion of Merit medal by then President George Bush for his “outstanding service.”
Speaking to a group of Republican ethnic leaders (7 Aug 1988), George H W Bush, at the time Vice President of the United States in the Reagan administration commented on a separate occasion, saying, "I will never apologize for the United States — I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy."
The quote, although unrelated to the downing of the Iranian air liner, has been attributed as such.
George H W Bush also defended his country’s atrocity against Iranian civilians at the United Nations by arguing that the US attack had been a wartime incident and that the crew of the Vincennes had acted appropriately to the situation.
The atrocity especially stoked anti-American sentiment as it coincided with the final year of the former Iraqi regime’s eight-year war, which had been waged against Iran with Washington’s all-out political and material support.
However, the United Sates has never stopped its aggression against Iran and recently done so by violating the Islamic Republic’s air space after a US spy drone spotted over Iranian territorial waters near the Persian Gulf and consequently was shot down by homemade defense missile system after ignoring multiple warnings.
The Islamic Republic has recently issued a formal complaint to the United Nations against the United States, saying the drone belonging to the US military that it shot down on June 20 had trespassed in its airspace.