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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Iran remembers US 'crime'
Victims' families
People in Iran are still angry over the loss of the airliner
Iranians have been remembering the 290 victims of a passenger airliner shot down by a US warship in the Gulf 12 years ago.

Iranian TV showed relatives of the passengers throwing flowers into the sea from boats at the spot where the remains of the Iran Air airbus were found.

Only one example of the many crimes committed by the US Government against the Iranian people

Parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi
Helicopters showered thousands of red, orange and white flowers onto the crash site.

The airliner was hit by two missiles from the US Navy cruiser Vincennes at one of the low-points of the two countries' turbulent relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The US said at the time that the Vincennes had mistaken the plane for a fighter poised to attack, but Iran said that an airliner's radio signals could never have been mistaken for those of a fighter.

Military helicopter
Helicopters joined in the ceremony
Washington agreed in 1996 to pay nearly $62m compensation to the victims' families, plus the cost of the aircraft and legal expenses.

Iranian TV said that several victims' families have donated their compensation to contribute to the building of schools.

'American crime'

Iranian parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi was quoted as saying on Iranian TV on Sunday that the case remained open and those responsible for the incident should be punished.

"The tragic downing of the passenger aircraft was only an example of the many crimes committed by the American Government against the Iranian people," he said.

Lockerbie connection

Mehdi Karrubi
Iran's leaders still seek retribution
It has been suggested that Iran masterminded the Lockerbie bombing as revenge for the airliner's shooting down.

Iran vowed after the incident that the skies would "rain blood".

Earlier this month a man claiming to be a senior Iranian intelligence service defector, Ahmed Behbahani, said Iran trained a group of Libyans for the Lockerbie operation.

The men currently on trial for the Lockerbie bombing maintain that Syrian-backed Palestinians were responsible.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

05 Jun 00 | World
Lockerbie: Conspiracy theories
05 Jun 00 | World
Iran blamed for Lockerbie bomb
17 Mar 00 | Middle East
US-Iranian ties: Chronology
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