290 died in 1988; thousands are now dying due to sanctions

July 3, 2021 - 21:41

TEHRAN — July 3 is a day of sorrow for Iranians as the United States “accidentally” shot down a commercial Iran Air jet with the flight number 655.

Numbers 655 and 290 remind the Iranians of one of the worst crimes ever committed by the U.S.
 
Of course, this was not the first and it wasn’t the last crime the United States committed against the Iranian people. They did not even bother to issue a formal apology. 

All Ronald Reagan did was to issue a statement to the Iranian government in the midst of his Fourth of July celebration. The statement was read at the White House by Reagan’s spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater. 

“I am saddened to report that it appears that in a proper defensive action by the U.S.S. Vincennes this morning in the Persian Gulf, an Iranian airliner was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz.

This is a terrible human tragedy. Our sympathy and condolences go out to the passengers, crew and their families.

The Defense Department will conduct a full investigation. We deeply regret any loss of life. The course of the Iranian civilian airliner was such that it was headed directly for the U.S.S. Vincennes, which was at the time engaged with five Iranian Boghammer boats that had attacked our forces.

When the aircraft failed to heed repeated warnings, the Vincennes followed standing orders and widely publicized procedures, firing to protect itself against possible attack.
The only U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf is peace, and this reinforces the need to achieve that goal with all possible speed.” 

Reagan, speaking to reporters as he boarded a helicopter for a visit to ailing Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on July 3, replied "Yes" when asked if he considered his message to Tehran an apology. 

However, in a brazen statement, Reagan said that the compensation to the families of victims is "a matter that has to be discussed,” and the incident could have been avoided if Iran had accepted a ceasefire years before.

The statement added fuel to the anger of the heartbroken Iranians, particularly when Reagan called the downing of the plane “a proper defensive action,” refusing to apologize for the lives of 290 passengers. The fact that the U.S. wanted to negotiate over the price of the lives lost due to what it called “carelessness” was unacceptable to the people of Iran. Reagan’s falsifications angered the Iranian nation and added to their hatred of the United States. 

The White House spokesman said classified data indicated that the Vincennes picked up two different electronic signals from the Airbus, one of which indicated it could have been a civilian aircraft, and a second, separate signal that indicated it was an Iranian F14 warplane.

Pentagon officials claimed they have no explanation for why a civilian aircraft would transmit electronic messages usually restricted to military planes.

"The signals . . . that the Vincennes was receiving from that aircraft were signals that we had previously identified or associated with an F14," Pentagon spokesman Dan Howard said.

At 9:43 am, the Vincennes opened fire on the Iranian boats just as Iran Air Flight 655 was flying from the port city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai. The plane embarked on a routine normal ascent, except the pilot didn’t know he was flying his Airbus A300 over a military engagement. Radar operators on the Vincennes “mistook” the commercial flight for an Iranian F14 fighter jet.

“I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are. ... I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.”

These are the words of Vice President George H. W. Bush on Aug. 2, 1988. It should be seen how his unapologetic personality turned the region into a highly flammable volcano. George W. Bush, his son, started a war against Iraq under a false pretext and never apologized for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Apparently, being unapologetic runs deep in the bloods of most American officials. 

Not only they kill and say they don't apologize, but also they award the killers with awards. In this case, Reagan awarded Captain of the U.S.S Vincennes, William Rogers, with a Legion of Merit, for killing 290 defenseless civilians.

In fact, the award to Rogers was adding salt to the wound and mockery of human rights. 

Also, after the cowardly assassination of Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, then-president Donald Trump threatened to destroy “52 Iranian sites” if Iran retaliated, because it equated the number of Americans held hostage in Iran from 1979 to 1981. President Rouhani replied with a tweet, “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655.”

With the passing of time, American weapons have grown more sophisticated. They don’t target planes. They target the heart of economies by imposing brutal sanctions. They did not even have the courtesy to remove sanctions in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected literally every country in the world. Thousands of Iranians have died because of sanctions as the U.S. has refused to lift medical sanctions against Iran. 

State terrorism has been replaced with “economic terrorism” and “medical terrorism”. This is silent terrorism, something which has been described as “crime against humanity” by officials in Tehran. 

SA/PA

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