The timing of the jet crash near Tehran on Wednesday — coming just hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops — immediately led to suspicion that the plane had been downed by a missile.
Those suspicions were confirmed on Saturday, when Iranian officials accepted responsibility for the downing of the jet, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukraine International Airlines, saying it was an accident caused by human error. The 176 victims included many young Iranians, as well as Canadians, Afghans and Europeans from several countries.
Many observers couldn’t help thinking of a strikingly similar plane crash in Iranian territory amid hostilities, more than 30 years ago, in the waning days of the Iran-Iraq war.
On July 3, 1988, as American and Iranian forces battled in the Persian Gulf, the United States Navy accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger jet, Iran Air Flight 655, which was bound for Dubai. Iranian outlets reported that 290 people were aboard the plane, including 66 children. There were no survivors. [Continue reading…]