Iran mourns 1988 airliner downing by US warship
TEHRAN - The Associated Press
Najmeh Arshad, an Iranian woman whose father was killed when a U.S. warship shot down an Iranian airliner 24 years ago, scatters flowers into the Persian Gulf. AP photoIranians marked today the anniversary of the downing of an airliner by a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf more than two decades ago.
State TV showed relatives of the 290 dead and local officials scattering flowers from a ship and a helicopter into the waters where the Iran Air Airbus A300 crashed on July 3, 1988, killing all on board.
Participants were chanting, "Down with the U.S."
The ceremony shows how Iranian leaders still consider the United States the country’s most dangerous enemy.
The two countries have a long record of discord, the latest dispute being Iran’s nuclear program that the West suspects is aimed at developing weapons technology. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.
Iran has held similar ceremonies on past anniversaries of the airliner’s downing by the USS Vincennes.
Iran has called for the warship’s then-commander, William C. Rogers III, to be brought to trial. In 1990, then-U.S. President George H. W. Bush awarded Rogers the Legion of Merit for his service as a commanding officer.
In 1999, Iran said that it had received $130 million from a 1996 settlement that included compensation for families of the victims.