Iranians mark 34th anniversary of US downing of airliner

Iranians throw flowers in the water at the site of the 1988 US bombing of a civilian aircraft 34 years ago, near the Strait of Hormuz and Hengam Island, July 3, 2022. ( Photo by IRNA)

Iranians commemorate the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by a US Navy guided missile cruiser, 34 years after the devastating incident killed all passengers and crew aboard the airliner, which was flying over Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.

In a memorial ceremony on Sunday, officials from the southern province of Hormozgan and families of the victims threw flowers into the waters near the Strait of Hormuz and Hengam Island from a ship.

Chanting slogans such as “Down with the United States” and “Down with Israel”, they condemned the inhuman war crime of the United States and called for the punishment of the perpetrators through international legal channels.

On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired missiles at Iran Air’s Airbus A300B2, which was flying over the Strait of Hormuz from the port city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai while carrying 274 passengers and 16 crew. .

After the attack, the plane disintegrated and crashed into the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people on board, including 66 children.

US officials have claimed that the USS Vincennes mistook Iran Air Flight 655 for a warplane. It was then that the warship was equipped with highly sophisticated radar systems and electronic combat equipment at the time of the attack.

In 1990, the cruiser’s captain, William C. Rogers, was exonerated of any wrongdoing and even received the American Legion of Merit medal from US President George Bush for his “outstanding service” during operations in the Persian Gulf. .