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Downing of human rights in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN: Today is considered a significant political event for Iranians to commemorate the passengers of Iran Air Flight 655, which was shot down by a guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy.

Triggering the war between Iran and Iraqi Ba’ath regime, imposing brutal sanction against Iranians, overt and covert interference in internal affairs of the country and killing of women, men and children are among the US’ government’s hostile actions against 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 Iraqi Ba’ath regime and Iran had expanded to include air attacks against oil tankers and merchant shipping of neighboring countries, some of who 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.

USS Vincennes in the waters of Persian Gulf

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.

On the morning of 3 July 1988, USS Vincennes was passing through the Strait of Hormuz returning from an 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.

People looking for family members walk amid bodies of victims from Iran Air Flight 655 in a morgue in Bandar Abbas

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.

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 month later, he said, “I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are.”

Captain of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers III

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.

In 1996, the US government paid Iran $131.8 million for 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.

Iranian mourners in Tehran carry one of 72 caskets to the Cemetery of Martyrs, July 7, 1988

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.

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 in recent years, 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.

Iranian boy scatters flowers in sea during a ceremony commemorating anniversary of Vincennes missile attack on Iranian airliner

One of the results of its presence in the region was the occurrence of Tehran-Kyiv flight incident.

The incident came as Iranian air defenses were at the highest level of alert following the country’s missile attacks against US bases in Iraq, which came in retaliation for Washington’s assassination of senior Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani.

The Tehran-Kyiv flight was unintentionally shot down by an Iranian air defense unit shortly after taking off from Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 passengers and crew members on board. The Iranian operator was reported to have mistaken the Boeing jetliner for a cruise missile.

So this question arises, considering the background of US crimes against the Iranian people, other nations in the region and the world in recent decades, how can the US claim of defending human rights be believed?!

 

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