Tag: Bush

Flight 655 Apology

Flight 655

Wikipedia Flight 655

Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai, via Bandar Abbas, that was shot down on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy. The aircraft, an Airbus A300, was destroyed, and all 290 people on board, including 66 children, were killed.[1] The jet was hit while flying over Iran‘s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, along the flight’s usual route, shortly after departing Bandar Abbas International Airport, the flight’s stopover location. Vincennes had entered Iranian territory after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits.[2][3]

Statement on the Destruction of an Iranian Jetliner by the United States Navy Over the Persian Gulf

Ronald Reagan, July 3, 1988

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 Boghammar 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 tragedy reinforces the need to achieve that goal with all possible speed.


Ronald Reagan, July 4, 1988

His response on television the next day was “I think it’s an understandable accident, to shoot and think that they were under attack from that plane … at quite a distance” and no changes in protection were going to be made.

Ronald Reagan, Nightline New York, July 4, 1988

Vice President Bush’s response *

Wikipedia George H.W. Bush second term

On July 3, 1988, the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 passengers. Bush said that he would “never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”[99]

C-SPAN: George H.W. Bush: “I don’t care what the facts are” *


Wikipedia Flight 655

In 1996, the governments of the United States and Iran reached a settlement at the International Court of Justice which included the statement “…the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives caused by the incident…”[13] As part of the settlement, even though the U.S. government did not admit legal liability or formally apologize to Iran, it still agreed to pay US$61.8 million on an ex gratia basis, amounting to $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.[14]

IR 655: 22 years later, US will not apologize

RT America Jul 2, 2010

While Americans are celebrating Independence day this weekend, Iranians all over the world will be morning the death of nearly 300 hundred Iranian citizens at the hands of the US navy. On July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes shot down Iranian airliner 655 en route to Dubai. The incident sparked controversy and it was later revealed the Navy tried to cover-up the incident. The event also came at the end of the Iran – Iraq war, marking a dark chapter in US history in the region.

RT America: IR 655: 22 years later, US will not apologize