TEHRAN -- Iranians on Sunday commemorated the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by a United States Navy guided-missile cruiser, 34 years after the devastating incident killed all passengers and crew members on board the airliner, which was flying over Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
During a memorial ceremony, officials from Iran’s southern province of Hormozgan and families of the victims tossed flowers into the waters near the Strait of Hormuz and Hengam Island from aboard a vessel.
Chanting slogans such as “Down with the U.S.” and “Down with Israel,” they condemned the inhumane U.S. war crime and called for the punishment of the perpetrators through international legal channels.
On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired missiles at the Iran Air Airbus A300B2, which was flying over the Hormuz Strait from the port city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai while carrying 274 passengers and 16 crew members.
Following the attack, the plane disintegrated and crashed into the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 on board, among them 66 children.
U.S. 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 U.S. president George Bush for his “outstanding service” during operations in the Persian Gulf.