Jul 2, 2019, 2:26 PM
Journalist ID: 1006
News Code: 83378175
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Deliberate downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by US bitter air tragedy of century
Iran Air Flight 655 massacre

Tehran, July 2, IRNA – Deliberate downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by US warship USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf in 1988 was bitter air tragedy of the century took place for Iranians in total despair, the irony of the tragedy was that the US did not apologize to Iran and instead awarded commander of the warship with certificate of valor.

On July 3, 1988, Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) bound to Dubai was shot down shortly after it took off from Bandar Abbas by the United States Navy in the Persian Gulf. The attack took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.

Iran Air Airbus A300 B2-203 flying at the civilian corridor, was destroyed by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the Vincennes killing all 290 passengers from six nations on board, including 66 children and 16 crew. There were 38 non-Iranians aboard.

This attack ranks tenth among the deadliest disasters in aviation history, the incident retains the highest death toll of any air disaster in the Persian Gulf and the highest death toll of any air disaster involving an Airbus anywhere in the world.

According to the United States Government, the crew mistakenly identified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter. Contributing to the error was the fact that the aircraft did not respond to several inquiries to change course and did not identify itself clearly as civilian. The Iranian government maintains that Vincennes deliberately shot down the civilian aircraft.

**** A Flight To Destinies Of Paradise

The event produced a great deal of dispute and criticism of the United States. Several analysts have blamed U.S. military commanders and the captain of Vincennes for irresponsible and aggressive behavior in a tense and dangerous environment. The airliner was transmitting an identification friend or foe code for a civilian aircraft, but Captain William C. Rogers III in an interview insisted that he believed the code alone did not mean the aircraft was non-hostile. Captain Rogers described the attack as a self-defense measure to save his ship and the lives of the crew.

While issuing notes of regret over the loss of human life, the U.S. government has, thus far, neither admitted any wrongdoing or responsibility in this disaster, nor apologized, but continues to blame Iranian hostile actions for the event. The crew of the Vincennes were all awarded combat-action. ​

More than two decades later, the attack continues to pervade Iranian social psychology and fuel the strategic thinking of its military leadership. Many Iranians remember the event with a bitter sense of vulnerability. A foreign government, the United States, which was not in war with them, used brutal and lethal force against Iranian civilians.

For those with a longer memory span, it’s hard to dismiss some of these concerns especially when you recall that the irresponsible behavior of the USS Vincennes commanding officer earned him the Legion of Merits, “a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.” For many Iranians, this is utterly incomprehensible.

*** Top Iranian general: We could have downed a US plane with crew of 35, but didn’t

The IRGC announced on Thursday, June 20,  that its air defense force had shot down an intruding American Unmanned spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan.

The IRGC said in a statement that the US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force near the Kouh-e Mobarak region, which sits in the central district of Jask County, after the aircraft violated Iranian airspace.

RQ-4s typically fly at high altitude to conduct reconnaissance missions.

A senior Iranian military commander says Iran has refrained from shooting down a US plane with 35 people on board that was accompanying an American spy drone which was shot down in the Persian Gulf after intruding into the Iranian airspace.

"Along with the US drone, there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board," Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Aerospace Division of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), told reporters.

"This plane also entered our airspace and we could have targeted it, but we did not because our purpose behind shooting down the American drone was to give a warning to terrorist American forces," Hajizadeh added.

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