The Iranians have every reason to believe we're goin gto attack them. First of al, we armed, and fought along side, Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Secondly, there was the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655. The following is from Wikipedia, a source which should never, ever, be taken as the sole source of information on a topic. I offer it only as a reference point. I do encourage reading the entire entry in Wiki, even though it's rather long. It's highly informative regarding the situation we find ourselves in today. What I post here starts at the end of the first section, entitled, 'The Incident'.
George H.W. Bush
, at the time Vice President of the United States
in the Reagan Administration
, defended his country at the United Nations by declaring that the shootdown had been a wartime incident and that the crew of the Vincennes
had acted appropriately to the situation at the time. He refused to apologize for the shootdown on behalf of the United States.
U.S. government account
According to U.S. government claims, the Vincennes
mistakenly identified the Iranian aircraft as an attacking military fighter. The officers identified the flight profile being flown by the Airbus A300B2
as being similar to that of an F-14A Tomcat
during an attack run;
the commercial flight had originated at Bandar Abbas, which served dual roles as a base for Iranian F-14 operations and as a hub for commercial, civilian flights.
According to the same reports, the Vincennes
tried more than once to contact Flight 655, but there was no acknowledgement.
At 10:24 am, with the civilian jet 11 nautical miles
away, the Vincennes
fired two SM-2MR
Surface-to-air missiles. The first missile broke the aircraft in two and damaged the tailplane and right wing. After the engagement, the Vincennes
' crew realized that the plane had been a civilian airliner.
This version was finalized in a report by Admiral William Fogarty
, entitled Formal Investigation into the Circumstances Surrounding the Downing of Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988
Only parts of this report have been released (part I in 1988 and part II in 1993), which has drawn criticism from many observers.
The unclassified version of a Congressional report of a U.S. Navy
investigation headed by Admiral William Fogarty did not accurately show the location of the USS Vincennes
some 2 NM (4 km) inside Iranian territorial waters.
When questioned by BBC journalists in a 2002 documentary, the U.S. government stated in a written answer that they believed the incident may have been caused by a simultaneous psychological condition amongst the 18 bridge crew of the Vincennes called 'scenario fulfillment' which is said to occur when persons are under pressure. In such a situation, the men will carry out a training scenario, believing it to be reality whilst ignoring sensory information that contradicts the scenario - in the case of this incident, the scenario was an attack by a lone military aircraft. This hypothesis, if true, could explain why the records of the Vincennes' instruments never indicated a craft resembling an F-14 being detected, whilst a civilian IFF signal was detected.
Iranian government account
According to the Iranian government, the shooting down of IR 655 by the Vincennes
was an intentionally performed and unlawful act
. Even if there was a mistaken identification, which Iran does not accept, this amounted to such gross negligence and recklessness
that it still amounted to an international crime, not an accident.
In April 1988, the US Navy carried out Operation Praying Mantis
against Iran and directly attacked Iranian Naval vessels and installations and Iranian off-shore oil facilities. In effect, Iran and the USA were in outright military conflict. Iran thus regarded the USA as being an open military ally of Saddam Hussein
's Iraq and feared that the US would expand its naval war with Iran into attacks on Iran's soil. The Iranian government believed at the time of the incident that the attack was intended as a warning to Iran that if it did not agree to some form of armistice with Iraq, the USA would itself directly attack the Iranian mainland and Iranian civilians in order to assist Iraq.[citation needed
reporters John Barry and Roger Charles wrote that Rogers acted recklessly and without due care. Their report accused the U.S. government of a cover-up.
An analysis of the events by the International Strategic Studies Association
described the deployment of an Aegis cruiser in the zone as irresponsible and felt that the expense of the ship had played a major part in the setting of a low threshold for opening fire.
had been nicknamed 'Robo-cruiser', both in reference to its AEGIS system, and to the supposed aggressive tendencies of its captain. The US fighter base in Bahrain had refused to provide supporting aircraft to cover the Vincennes
the commander of the base stated that his decision was based on a fear that the Vincennes
would accidentally shoot down one of his aircraft.
On November 6
the International Court of Justice
ruled that "the actions of the United States of America against Iranian oil platforms on 19 October 1987
and 18 April 1988
cannot be justified as measures necessary to protect the essential security interests of the United States of America."
However, the case relating to the Airbus downing, "the Aerial Incident of 3 July 1988
, (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America)", was dropped 22 February 1996 following settlement and reparations by the United States.