By: Mir M.Hosseini
Iran Air Flight 655 "IR655" was a commercial flight, that flew on a Tehran-Bandar Abbas-Dubai route. On this day, the flight was shot down by USS Vincennes on the Bandar Abbas-Dubai leg, which resulted in 290 civilian fatalities from six nations including 66 children. 38 non-Iranians were aboard also. Iran calls US action : A barbaric massacre.
At the time of the incident, Vincennes U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser was within Iranian territorial waters. Identifying Airbus A300B2 as Air Force F-14A Tomcat, Vincennes fired a volley of two SM-2ER antiaircraft missiles. The first missile broke the aircraft in two and damaged the tailplane and right wing. However, throughout its final flight IR655 was in radio contact with various air traffic control services using standard civil aviation frequencies, and had spoken in English to Bandar Abbas Approach Control seconds before Vincennes launched its missiles.
On November 6, 2003 the International Court of Justice concluded that the U.S. Navy's actions in the Persian Gulf at the time had been unlawful but U.S. administration never gave a full report or apologized officially for the incident that took place when Iran was in the middle of an 8 year war with Iraq, ruled by Saddam Hussein, a dictator who was supported by most Arab countries and their western allies. Commander & the crew in charge of the battleship were decorated with combat-action ribbons one day prior to U.S. Independence day.
Compared to the downing of Korean Air Flight 007 by the Soviet Air Force in 1983 in which Soviets' airspace had been violated, Time and Newsweek magazines' headline were "Shooting To Kill" and "Murder In the Air", little is available in corporate media on IR655.
Vice President George H. W. Bush (later President of United States of America) declared a month later,
"I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don't care what the facts are.", Newsweek, August 15, 1988
In 1996, the United States agreed with Iran to pay up to $300,000 to families of each of the Iranian passengers. The US State department said that in a settlement totaling $131.8 million, the two deeply hostile countries also resolved banking disputes stemming from the American hostage crisis in Tehran, which ended in 1981.