On the eve of the deadline set for reaching the Iran-P5+1 nuclear agreement, both the U.S. State Department and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued statements marking the 27th anniversary of the July 3, 1988 downing by the U.S. Navy of Iran Air Flight No. 655 in Iranian airspace, as it was en route from Tehran to Dubai.
Khamenei republished, on July 4, 2015 on his website, his announcement from 1988 when he was president of Iran.
Following are excerpts from Khamenei's 1988 statement and from the U.S. State Department statement:
Khamenei: The U.S. "Knows No Other Way Except Terrorism, Aggression, And Disgrace"
On July 4, 2015, the website of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei republished the statement he had issued in 1988, when he was Iranian president, following the downing of Iran Air Flight 655. In it he said: "...The massive tragic event of attacking a passenger jet and murdering hundreds of innocent men, women, and children shows America's insane anger and resentment towards our Islamic Revolution and regime. [This] illustrates that the Great Satan has advanced to the point where it has sunk in the quagmire of its most savage crimes in the conflict against Islam.
"[This act] demonstrates how the apparatus of the evil arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] has not benefited from its political, propagandist, and military tricks against Iran, and that it knows no way except terrorism, aggression, and disgrace...
"On behalf of the Iranian nation, I present this American administration, and President Reagan, as criminals and murderers, and send this message, from a revolutionary nation that courageously fights on the path of its faith, freedom, and independence, to the liberated peoples of the world, to American public opinion, and to future generations:
"The dear Iranian nation has sacrificed many martyrs and paid a heavy price to preserve its honor and independence, but so far it is winning this struggle. The enemy is angry at our victory, and yesterday's despicable American crime is additional proof of the Great Satan's helplessness vis-├á-vis its retreat in the political arena that was forced on it by the Iranian nation."
"I Warn The American Administration That It Should Bear The Consequences Of This Recent Crime In The Persian Gulf - And This Same Administration, And Its President Personally, Will Be Held Responsible For Any Subsequent Event"
"With our moral force, which is inseparable from faith and justice, we will not abandon the arena of the struggle against the Great Satan [the U.S.] and we are certain that we will not allow the enemy to take over Islam. We hereby say to the world that Iran is prepared to preserve its independence and faith, and it is prepared to fight the bullying of the arrogant world [i.e. the West, led by the U.S.] and the American aggression.
"The struggle of the oppressed is one of courage and honor, and, based on historical experience, it will lead to the final victory. I say confidently that in light of vulnerability, the arrogant American regime will be unable to combat a faithful, brave nation that is willing to sacrifice and seeks God, and it will be forced to admit defeat.
"I warn the American administration that it should bear the consequences of this recent crime in the Persian Gulf - and that this same administration, and its president personally, will be held responsible for any subsequent event..."
U.S. State Department Spokesman: We Have Expressed Our Condolences For This "Terrible Human Tragedy" And Paid $61 Million Restitution To The Iranian Government For This Accident
U.S. State Department Persian-Language Spokesman Alan Eyre wrote on his Facebook page on July 3, 2015: "Today is the anniversary of the accidental downing of Iran Air Flight 655. Several journalists have asked me about this tragic event, and I responded that it was an accidental downing by our navy, and that it was a terrible human tragedy. American government officials at the time, including President Reagan, expressed deep sorrow for this disaster and for the loss of innocent air crew and passengers. The U.S. government expressed its condolences to the families of the victims. It also paid $61 million to the Iranian government for this tragic mistake, to provide for the families of the victims, and, according to an agreement reached in February 1996 between the U.S. and Iranian governments, both sides declared the matter resolved.
"I added that we must not forget or ignore our past, but that we cannot be its prisoners. We should look to the future for the benefit of our nations and our children, so that we are not denied the opportunity of bringing about a better future for everyone.
"We have come to Vienna to reach a comprehensive agreement, out of seriousness, honor, and good will on both sides, for the benefit of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the P5+1, the Persian Gulf region, the Middle East, and the entire world."