U.S. Cruiser Vincennes Shoots Down Iranian Airliner (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: The USS Vincennes, a missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf, shot down an Iranian airliner carrying 290 passengers and crew, leaving no survivors; the result was even stronger anti-American feelings in Iran.
Tensions in the Gulf
Relations between the United States and Iran had gone quickly downhill after the overthrow and expulsion of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. Because the shah had been a staunch ally of the United States, the Iranian revolutionary movement, which was led by fundamentalist Muslims, was strongly anti-American. Fanning the flames of hatred for the “Great Satan” America, the revolutionary leaders in Iran encouraged an attack on the American embassy in Tehran, and staff members of the embassy were held as hostages for more than a year. Enmity between the two countries continued even after 1981, when the hostages were released.
Chances for restoring a normal relationship with Iran ended when the conflict between Iran and its neighbor Iraq broke into a full-scale war. That war was stepped up in 1984. In spite of the secret Iran-Contra deal, by which U.S. weapons were sold to Iran, the United States sided with Iraq in the war and did not renew diplomatic relations with Iran.
During the war, Iran threatened often to make sure that oil could not be shipped from the Middle East to the United States and its allies. Some oil tankers in the Persian Gulf were bombed...
(The entire section is 855 words.)
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