Downing of Flight 655 was state-sponsored terrorism: analyst

July 3, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- The U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf on July 3, 1988, killing all 290 passengers and crew members, including 66 children.

The U.S. government refused to apologize for the incident, which was the seventh deadliest plane crash in aviation history, claiming that the crew had mistaken the Iranian Airbus A300 for an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter.
U.S. officials also said the entire Vincennes crew had been suffering from a mass psychological condition called “scenario fulfillment” and had thus confused their training scenario with a real situation and responded accordingly.
Iran condemned the incident as an international crime caused by the U.S. Navy’s “negligence and reckless behavior”.
The UN Security Council eventually passed Resolution 616, expressing “deep distress” over the incident and “profound regret” for the massive loss of life.
The Mehr News Agency sought the views of two political analysts and two lawmakers on Wednesday, which was the 20th anniversary of the Flight 655 tragedy.
Political analyst Mohammad-Kazem Anbarluii called the incident a blatant example of U.S. state-sponsored terrorism, which revealed the hegemonistic nature of the U.S. leaders.
MP Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said, “The attack on Iran’s Airbus was the most hideous crime in aviation history.”
The fact that the United States awarded the Commendation Medal to Vincennes air-warfare coordinator Lieutenant Commander Scott Lustig was an admission that the attack was deliberate, he observed.
Hamidreza Taraqi of the Islamic Coalition Party said the U.S. shot down Flight 655 in response to Iran’s refusal to give in to Washington’s hegemonistic policy.
Thus Iran should be prepared to respond to similar actions while expecting no assistance from international organizations, he added.
Taraqi criticized the international community for its deafening silence about the blatant U.S. crime against Iranian civilians.
“This event shows that the organizations responsible for maintaining global security not only refuse to defend the oppressed nations, they also cover up the major powers’ crimes.”
MP Mohammadreza Khabaz of the National Confidence Party said the U.S. Navy had deliberately targeted the Iranian aircraft.
If the U.S. government really believed that the attack on Iran Air Flight 655 was a mistake, it would bring the commander of the Vincennes to court rather than awarding him a medal, he observed.
“History will never forget the United States’ crimes against humanity.”
Political analyst Abbas Salimi Namin criticized the West’s double standards towards terrorists.
The incident shows that “the West not only has no problem with terrorism, it also views it as an essential policy,” he stated.
“There is an eternal link between the Western system and terrorism… the West makes use of all options to serve its illegitimate interests.