Triggering the war between Iran and the Iraqi Ba’ath regime, imposing brutal sanctions against Iranians, overt and covert interference in the internal affairs of the country and killing of women, men and children are among the US’ government’s hostile actions against the Iranian nation.
One of the most significant incidents in which the United States directly committed crimes against the Iranian people was the missile attack on an Iranian passenger aircraft in the waters of the Persian Gulf.
This is a disgraceful incident that, along with other US crimes, showed the dishonesty of US officials in the field of human rights.
In 1984, the war between the Iraqi Ba’ath regime and Iran had expanded to include air attacks against oil tankers and merchant shipping of neighboring countries, some of which were providing aid to Iraq by shipping Iraqi oil. The United States was among several countries that had warships in the area to safeguard the transport of oil.
There were high tensions in the Strait of Hormuz at the time of the incident with Flight 655.
On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes, under the command of Capt. William C. Rogers III was involved in several skirmishes with Iranian vessels. According to various reports, Rogers, who had a reputation for aggressiveness, ignored orders to change course.
Against this background, the Iranian airliner, an Airbus A300 departed Bandar Abbas, headed to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
People looking for family members walk amid bodies of victims from Iran Air Flight 655 in a morgue in Bandar Abbas
On the morning of 3 July 1988, USS Vincennes was passing through the Strait of Hormuz returning from escort duty and fired a missile at Flight 655 at the behest of Captain William Rogers, Commander of the USS Vincennes.
Suddenly, the plane disappeared from the radar screen and crashed into the waters of the Persian Gulf. Neither one of the US ships tried to help or search for survivors.
All 290 passengers on board including 66 children, died. Their bodies were recovered from the Persian Gulf and later buried.
Immediately after the incident, US officials announced that they had targeted an Iranian F-14. After the type of aircraft was revealed, the United States claimed that they had made a mistake in this regard but the subsequent evidence rejected their claim.
They also claimed that Flight 655 was not within its normal route. However, a US Navy report on July 28, 1988, refuted these claims.
Captain of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers III
President Ronald Reagan and Admiral William Crowe defended the US Navy’s actions. They both said Roger’s first responsibility had been the safety of his ship and crew.
George H. W. Bush campaigned to be president a month later, he said, “I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are.”
Despite the mistakes made in the downing of the plane, in 1990 the US Navy notably awarded Rogers the Legion of Merit for his “outstanding service” during operations in the Persian Gulf.
Iranian mourners in Tehran carry one of 72 caskets to the Cemetery of Martyrs, July 7, 1988
In 1996, the US government paid Iran $131.8 million in compensation. The Clinton administration expressed regret, for what had happened, but the US has never formally apologized.
In the United States, the attack has largely been forgotten, but it’s never left Iran’s national consciousness, and many believe that it wasn’t an accident.
Thirty-two years ago, the United States overthrew an Iranian passenger plane and then awarded a medal to the perpetrator of this crime, which showed that human rights for the White House are just a political gesture and a tool of pressure on other nations.
Iranian boy scatters flowers in sea during ceremony commemorating anniversary of Vincennes missile attack on Iranian airliner
To achieve its goals and interests, the United States has used human rights directly or through other international organizations or regimes to interfere in the affairs of other countries and to violate the national security of various countries, including Iran.
As we have witnessed US interference in various countries with the claim of violation of human rights and the spread of democracy. In this regard, the United States entered Afghanistan and Iraq. The situation in the countries has been aggravated following the US actions for many years.
In addition, the presence of US military bases and its warships in the waters of the Persian Gulf has caused various problems for the security of the region.