Jan 6, 2020

Rouhani invokes U.S. downing of Iran Air Flight 655 in response to Trump

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded Monday on Twitter to President Trump's weekend warning that the U.S. military would target 52 Iranian sites — a reference to the number of American hostages taken during the Iran hostage crisis — if the country retaliates for the killing of Qasem Soleimani.

"Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655 Never threaten the Iranian nation."

The context: A U.S. Navy cruiser shot down Iran Air Flight 655, a civilian airliner, over the Persian Gulf in 1988, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

  • The Iranian government has generally believed that Washington, by downing Flight 655, had sided with Iraq in the the Iran-Iraq War, according to the Washington Post.
  • Washington has maintained that the vessel responsible for the attack mistook the airliner for a military aircraft after it failed to respond and identify itself on military and civilian radio frequencies.

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Iran says it mistakenly shot down Ukrainian passenger plane

Search and rescue workers at the site after a Boeing 737 plane belonging to a Ukrainian airline that crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran just after takeoff. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran announced in a statement on Saturday (local time) that its military mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed on Wednesday, killing all passengers aboard, according to multiple reports.

What they're saying, per the Iranian military's statement: The Boeing 737 jetliner operated by Ukrainian International Airlines “took the flying posture and altitude of an enemy target” as it came close to an Iranian military base, and “under these circumstances, because of human error,” the plane “came under fire,” the New York Times writes.

Go deeperArrowJan 11, 2020

Trump responds to missile strikes: "Iran appears to be standing down"

President Trump said in a White House address Wednesday that Americans should be "extremely grateful and happy" because Iranian strikes hours earlier resulted in no casualties, and Iran now "appears to be standing down."

Why it matters: Iran's strikes came in retaliation for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, a stunning event that led to immediate fears of war. Trump defended that decision and announced new sanctions on Iran, but did not signal new military escalation.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

Trump says "all is well" after Iranian strikes on bases hosting U.S. troops

Iranian mourners carry a picture of Khamenei (R) and Soleimani. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday night "all is well" following the Iranian strikes on two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops are stationed.

Why it matters: This is the closest the current U.S.-Iran standoff has come to war, with Iran retaliating directly against the U.S. for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties at the bases, and Trump has appeared to signal restraint.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 8, 2020