In the life of any nation there are painful dates that cause the entire nation to grieve, despite the long passage of time. This kind of sorrowful, and bloody, date for the Iranian people is 3 July 1988, when the USS Vincennes guided missile cruiser from the US navy purposely launched a surface-to-air missile and shot down an Iranian Airbus A300B2-203 liner owned by the airline Iran Air, which was completing a passenger flight via the route Tehran-Bandar Abbas-Dubai. The catastrophe that befell flight IR655 was the worst aircraft disaster in Iran’s entire history, when all 290 people aboard died: 274 passengers (including 65 children) and 16 crew members.
It should be particularly noted that when the missile was launched the USS Vincennes was located in Iranian waters. The Pentagon brazenly stated that the Iran Air airliner was mistakenly identified as an Iranian Air Force F-14 fighter, allegedly in the process of attacking the poor, frightened American sailors. The Iranian government, back then and now, clearly and firmly asserts that the USS Vincennes purposely attacked a defenseless civilian aircraft. Incidentally, this is attested too eloquently by the fact that the “brave” captain, William C. Rogers, was awarded the Legion of Merit award for “courage and bravery”. Officials, including then-president Ronald Reagan and Admiral William Crowe, closed ranks to defend the actions taken by the US Navy. They both made demagogic proclamations that W.C. Rogers’ first priority was the safety of his ship and its American crew. George Bush, Sr. who was then running his presidential campaign, a month later boldly stated: “I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care about facts.” Is that not a manifestation of fascism?
Pitting the Ba’ath regime in Iraq against Iran, the result of which was unleashing of a bloody and long war between two neighbors, introducing harsh sanctions against the Iranians, overt and covert interference in the country’s domestic affairs, and killing women, men, and children – all of this can be categorized as hostile action taken by the United States. And one of the bloodiest crimes by the US against the Iranian people was the missile strike on the IR655 passenger airplane, which showed the true aggressive nature and dishonesty on the part of American presidential administrations, at least in that area called human rights that Washington so zealously pushes for in other countries on the world stage.
As before, now the world has witnessed Washington’s interference in the affairs of various states with claims of violations in the field of international law and human rights. Adhering to its antagonistic strategy, the United States has acutely exacerbated the situation in the region, putting troops into Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and destroying these countries’ statehood.
In addition, the presence of American military bases and warships in the waters of the Persian Gulf has caused various security problems in the area. And one of the woeful results of the American military presence in the region is the lamentable incident with a Ukrainian civilian aircraft. It happened during the same time that the Iranian Air Defense Force was brought to a state of high alert after Washington’s sordid assassination of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani. It was reported that the Iranian operator, in extreme conditions and directly targeted by the Americans with strong interference on the radar, took the Boeing airliner for a cruise missile. This means that the United States and its aggressive policies, which are geared toward creating real outbreaks of tension in various regions around the world, are what has caused yet another lamentable incident and human casualties.
Tariq Abud, the well-known Lebanese political scientist, believes that the “United States is one of the most aggressive countries that has fought, and continues to wage, wars against other nations in the modern era, and the American system is based on repression, domination, destruction, and controlling other people”. The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. It also imposed the toughest sanctions against Iran – in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal they signed, which was approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2231. The current president, Donald Trump, has deepened the racial divide even in American society with his inflammatory statements and decisions. “What is happening in America is the historical accrual of discrimination against colored people, since racism has sprung deep roots in the American political system, and even in the Constitution,” explains Tariq Abud.
According to the Lebanese political scientist, Washington also actively supports repressive regimes in third-world countries, including the Arab World, Latin America, and even Africa. Many countries in the Arab world have come to terms with US hegemony, and do not presume to challenge Washington. This occurs in a natural context, since many Arab regimes have accepted American hegemony and they have neither the power nor the forces to withstand the US administration. Since these Arab regimes, chiefly in the Persian Gulf region, are not democratic, they are well aware of the methods used to suppress adversaries and use force against them, and against Iran above all others.
The Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT), writing to the former commander of the USS Vincennes warship William Rogers, urged him to admit the facts and enable the victims of the terrorist act to access the courts of justice, with a letter stating: “You launched a missile into a passenger aircraft in the azure sky above the Persian Gulf, and committed yet another crime against humanity in world history. As a result of this terrible crime, 290 innocent people were killed instantly, including 66 children and 53 women. Instead of punishing you and other guilty parties in international court, the American authorities lauded you, just like Paul Tibbets (the pilot of the Enola Gay bomber), and awarded you the Legion of Merit. Your name will go down in history together with other criminals, such as former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Mussolini, Sharon, and Paul Tibbets”.
The Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism believes that justifying the crime by granting an award is clear proof that the crime was planned.
Victor Mikhin, member-correspondent of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.