Iran commemorates 30th anniversary of US downing of passenger plane

Press TV- Iran is marking the 30th anniversary of the downing of its civilian aircraft by a US Navy guided-missile cruiser over the Persian Gulf.

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

Following the attack, the plane disintegrated and crashed into the Persian Gulf waters, killing all 290 on board, among them 66 children.

In a Tuesday message commemorating the tragedy, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that the Iranian people will never forget “the vicious US crime.”

The US behavior towards the Iranians and other nations shows the country has been committing inhumane acts to achieve its “ominous objectives” and using human rights as a pretext to pursue its “excessive demands and illegitimate interests,” he added.

Several years have passed since the tragedy, but the crime still lives on as “a stain of shame for the US,” Qassemi noted.

US officials claimed that the USS Vincennes 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.

In 1990, the captain of the cruiser, William C. Rogers, was cleared of any wrongdoing, and was even awarded America’s Legion of Merit medal by then US president George Bush for his “outstanding service” during operations in the Persian Gulf.