Iran has commemorated the 33rd anniversary of the downing of its passenger aircraft by a US Navy guided-missile cruiser over the Persian Gulf, which killed 290 people.
During a memorial ceremony on Saturday, officials from Iran’s southern Hormozgan province and the families of the tragedy’s victims, who were aboard a vessel, tossed flowers into the waters near the Strait of Hormuz and Hengam Island.
Chanting slogans such as “Down with the US” and “Down with Israel,” the participants condemned the inhumane US war crime.
In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani denounced the cowardly US targeting of the passenger plane as “a great, horrible and unacceptable crime.”
“In the incident, 290 people on board the plane were martyred. Unfortunately, the US administration has not formally apologized for the crime and failed to take any significant measure in this regard. It has instead commended the cruiser's commander,” he said Saturday.
“We hope that the US government will recognize that a great crime was committed in the Persian Gulf in 1988. All the freedom-seekers of the world always urge the US to take necessary measures to apologize and compensate and explain to the people why it has acclaimed the murderer and the criminal responsible for this great crime.”
On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired missiles at an Iran Air Airbus A300B2 which was flying over the Hormuz Strait 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.
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.