Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei expressed ‘deep grief’ over the incident which killed all 176 passengers onboard. His eminence called the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces to continue investigations to identify the possible culpabilities of the incident.
President Hasan Rouhani said Iran “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” as he offered condolences to the families of the victims.
For his part, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced Iran’s “profound regrets, apologies and condolences” over the incident.
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Aerospace Commander, said the Iranian Armed Forces bear full responsibility for the unintentional downing of the plane, expressing regrets and readiness to be held accountable.
“I’ll Never Apologize”
The Stance of the Islamic Republic has been way different from Washington’s position when the US shot down an Iranian plane in Iranian airspace with 290 civilians onboard, Brett Wilkins said in an article published by Common Dreams on Friday.
On July 3, 1988, the US guided missile destroyer USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300 flying in Iranian airspace and carrying 290 civilians from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas, killing all aboard.
The victims included people from six countries, including 66 children. The US maintains this was an accident, while Iran accused the US of an intentional act of state terrorism.
According to the official US account, the Vincennes’ crew misidentified the civilian airliner, claiming its flight profile was similar to that of the US-made F-14 Tomcat fighters sold to the Imperial Iranian Air Force during the last years of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s dictatorship.
“I’ll never apologize for the United States of America, ever; I don’t care what the facts are,” said Vice President George H. W. Bush after the incident in 1988.