Iran Cleric Likens US Downing of Iranian Plane to Terrorists Attacks on US
A conservative Iranian cleric Friday likened the 1988 US downing of an Iranian civilian jetliner, in which 290 people died, to last week's terrorist attacks on the United States.
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, speaking during Friday prayers at the University of Tehran, said: "downing an Airbus in the Persian Gulf, and slamming an airplane into buildings in New York and Washington, are both crimes and are condemned by Islam."
The USS Vincennes warship shot down an Iran Air passenger plane over the Gulf on July 3, 1988, killing 290 people, including 59 children.
Washington said the captain had mistakenly believed the plane was a fighter plane going to attack the Vincennes in the Gulf, where US warships at the time were escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq war.
Iran described the downing at the time as a "barbaric massacre."
Yazdi repeated Iran's opposition to US military action against Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban militia are sheltering Saudi-born Islamic radical Osama bin Laden, wanted in last week's terror strikes on New York and Washington.
"One shouldn't be hasty in fighting terrorism ... one must be methodical in finding the roots of terrorism," he said -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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