After the incident in 1988, the US said that their warship mistook the airliner as an Iranian fighter jet on a hostile mission
It was a not-so-peaceful Sunday morning in Bandar Abbas, the Iranian port city located on the Strait of Hormuz that connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.
The date was July 3, 1988. The Iran-Iraq war was still on, and US warships were in Gulf waters to escort US-flagged Kuwaiti tankers, and to keep a watch on Iran's activities. Iran too, had several ships out on the water.
At around 10:10am, Iran Air Flight 655 took off from Bandar Abbas. Amid the tension of war, US Navy mistook it for a threat and fired two standard surface-to-air missiles at it.
The Iranian aircraft had 290 passengers on board, including 66 children. All of them lost their lives due to a mistake made by the US Navy.
After the incident in 1988, the US said that their warship mistook the airliner as an Iranian fighter jet on a hostile mission.
Then American President Ronald Reagan had also expressed "deep regret" and apologised to Iran for downing the jetliner, according to a report by The Washington Post published on July 6, 1988.
President Reagan sent a diplomatic note to Iran that said, "This is a terrible human tragedy. Our sympathy and condolences go out to the passengers, crew, and their families. The Defense Department will conduct a full investigation. We deeply regret any loss of life."
But Iran refused to accept all the explanation, saying that the airliner had been shot down even though its aircraft identification transponder was squawking in Mode III.
Mode III signal was used by aircraft to identify themselves as civilian commercial aircraft back then.
The world mostly forgot about the incident that took place three decades ago.
On January 6, Iranian President Rouhani reminded the US of that tragedy, when he pointedly asked US President Donald Trump to "remember the number 290," and hashtagged "IR655" in a tweet.
The tweet ended with the following remark, "Never threaten the Iranian nation."
Fast-forwarding to the present, Iran seems to have made a similar tragic mistake. On January 8, a Ukrainian airliner, with 176 passengers on board crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran, without declaring any sort of emergency.
On January 10, A video emerged showing a missile being fired and striking an object into the Tehran sky around the same time that the plane crashed.
After days of denial, Iran on Saturday morning admitted that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that it mistook for a threat during hostilities with the US, killing all 176 people on board.
"Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was flying close to a sensitive Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military site when it was downed because of human error," the army of Iran said after conducting its own investigation.
President Hassan Rouhani also blamed "human error" and "deeply regretted" his country's mistake, that he wrote as an "unforgivable mistake" on his Twitter page.