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Daily News Analysis

July 3 Marks 30th Anniversary of US War Crime by Shooting Iran Air Passenger Plane

Crescent International

Tuesday July 3, 2018

To understand why the people and leadership of Iran distrust the US, one only has to recall the US’ deliberate shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane on July 3, 1988 in the Persian Gulf.

Iran Air Flight 655 had just taken off from Bandar Abbas International Airport and was heading to Dubai. There were 274 passengers and 16 crew members on board.

The passengers included 66 children. Also on board was Mahliqa Qurai, a leading Iranian writer and intellectual.

The plane was still flying over Iranian territorial waters and climbing toward its cruising altitude when it was blown up in the sky.

In the waters of the Persian Gulf below, a US Navy guided-missile cruiser, the USS Vincennes fired two missiles at the plane destroying it instantly. All 290 members on board were killed.

Each year, Iran marks the anniversary of the downing of its civilian aircraft. Today was no exception and reinforced the Iranians’ belief that the US is their implacable enemy.

Just as it destroyed a harmless civilian passenger plane, the US would like to destroy the Islamic Republic. The Great Satan, as Imam Khomeini described the US, makes no secret of its hostile intentions toward the Islamic Republic.

American officials—Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Nikki Hailey and others—have openly declared their intention to overthrow the legitimate Islamic system of governance in Iran.

In 1988, as soon as it became apparent that the US had shot down a civilian passenger plane over Iranian territorial waters, American officials began a campaign of disinformation and obfuscation.

No less a person than US Secretary of Defence (Offense) Casper Weinberger pulled out maps to show the plane was shot down over international waters and that it was threatening the USS Vincennes in the waters below.

Weinberger also alleged that the Vincennes’ radar showed a plane descending toward the navy cruiser.

The American official was lying. First, he brought out a map that had deliberately omitted an Iranian island in the Persian Gulf that put the plane clearly in Iran’s territorial waters.

Second, the plane was ascending (climbing), not descending. It was a passenger plane, not the much smaller F-14 fighter plane as the Americans alleged at the time.

Decades later, the Americans still peddle the fiction that the shooting down of the civilian passenger plane was a “mistake”.

“The shoot-down of Iran Air flight 655 was an accident, but that is not how it was seen in Tehran,” former CIA analyst and current Brookings scholar Kenneth Pollack wrote in his 2004 history of US-Iran enmity, "The Persian Puzzle."

If it was an “accident”, what explanation is there for the US to award the second highest naval medal, Legion of Merit, to Vincennes commander, Will Rogers? Then US President George H. W. Bush said Rogers was awarded the medal for “outstanding service” during operations in the Persian Gulf!

Blowing up a civilian airliner and killing 290 passengers on board would hardly constitute “outstanding service” unless one happens to be an American and a war criminal.

Blowing up Iran Air Flight 655 killing 290 passengers on board is a war crime. It also encapsulates America’s hostility toward the Islamic Republic. Without acknowledging and making amends for this crime, there is be no possibility that the two can have “normal” relations.

US crimes against Iran date back to the CIA-MI6 engineered coup against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadegh in August 1953.

That coup ushered in the most horrific period of torture and killings in Iranian history.

The Americans also continue to embrace the terrorist group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq organization, better known as munafiqeen in Iran.

There is no end to American wickedness and criminality when it comes to dealing with other countries.

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