Iran Air Flight 655 was a civilian jet airliner shot down by U.S. missiles on 3 July 1988 as it flew over the Strait of Hormuz at the end of the Iran–Iraq War. 290 innocent civilians (252 Iranians and 38 non Iranians) died when the U.S. Navy shot down it.

Did the USA ever officially apologize?

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    I've removed all the comments, comments are only meant to ask clarifying questions or add constructive criticism. Furthermore, I've removed the link to the daily mail article and the image from the question, as they had absolutely nothing to do with the core question (which is if the USA apologized or not). This site, as every Stack Exchange site, is focused on questions and answers, not discussions. The topic of the question is a sensitive one, and one that should be discussed - but not here. Here, let's just focus on the facts. Thanks.
    – yannis
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


Yes, Ronald Reagan, President at the time said

I am saddened to report that it appears that in a proper defensive action by the U.S.S. Vincennes this morning in the Persian Gulf an Iranian airliner was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz. 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. The course of the Iranian civilian airliner was such that it was headed directly for the U.S.S. Vincennes, which was at the time engaged with five Iranian Boghammar boats that had attacked our forces. When the aircraft failed to heed repeated warnings, the Vincennes followed standing orders and widely publicized procedures, firing to protect itself against possible attack.

The only U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf is peace, and this tragedy reinforces the need to achieve that goal with all possible speed.

Ronald Reagan thought this apology was sufficient when asked.

For his part, Reagan, asked by reporters whether the United States had apologized sufficiently, said, "Yes."

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    but the apology in your source! He said We regard this incident as closed He just said he regrets the incident, where is the reparation?
    – azerafati
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 4:14
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    well, then take a look at the meaning of Political Apology!
    – azerafati
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 5:45
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    @Bludream, Wikipedia notes, "As part of the settlement, the United States agreed to pay US$61.8 million, an average of $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims." So there you go.
    – user1873
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 12:23
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    I hadn't seen that part but also The payment of compensation was explicitly characterized by the US as being on an ex gratia basis, and the U.S. denied having any responsibility or liability for what happened.
    – azerafati
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 16:50
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    hardly an apology. Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 20:12

Actually NO!

According to wiki :

The event triggered an intense international controversy, with Iran condemning the U.S. attack as a "barbaric act." In mid-July 1988, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn the United States saying the U.S. attack "could not have been a mistake" and was a "criminal act," an "atrocity" and a "massacre." George H. W. Bush, at the time Vice President of the United States in the Reagan administration, defended his country at the United Nations by arguing that the U.S. attack had been a wartime incident and that the crew of the Vincennes had acted appropriately to the situation.[18] The Soviet Union asked the U.S. to withdraw from the area and supported efforts by the Security Council to end the Iran-Iraq war. The remainder of the 13 delegates who spoke supported the U.S. position, saying one of the problems was that a 1987 resolution to end the Iran-Iraq war had been ignored.[19] Following the debate, Security Council Resolution 616 was passed expressing "deep distress" over the U.S. attack, "profound regret" for the loss of human lives, and stressed the need to end the Iran-Iraq war as resolved in 1987.[20]

When questioned in a 2000 BBC documentary, the U.S. government stated in a written answer that they believed the incident may have been caused by a simultaneous psychological condition amongst the 18 bridge crew of the Vincennes called 'scenario fulfillment', which is said to occur when persons are under pressure. In such a situation, the men will carry out a training scenario, believing it to be reality while ignoring sensory information that contradicts the scenario. In the case of this incident, the scenario was an attack by a lone military aircraft.[24]

And so:

The U.S. government issued notes of regret for the loss of human lives and in 1996 paid reparations to settle a suit brought in the International Court of Justice regarding the incident, however the United States never released an apology or acknowledgment of wrongdoing. In August 1988"[25]

To find a better view about what political apology means:


You cannot apologize without accepting your responsibility about what has happened because of your wrong decisions,actions and reactions.

Surely wiki is a valid source and you cannot deny it about only one question and protect it about the other questions. If it is not a valid source all you answers from wiki are invalid too.

P.S: I found This interesting to read!

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    Comments removed, please refrain from engaging in side discussions in comments, that's not what comments are for. Persian Cat people have politely explained their downvotes, although they are not required to do so. If disagree with their reasoning, then just ignore the comments and move on. We are not here to win debates, but to answer questions. If you want to make your position more convincing, do it by improving your answer. Providing better sources would be a very good start towards that goal.
    – yannis
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 12:55
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    It looks like the second quote you mentioned was removed from the page yesterday because it was invalid...
    – JNK
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 16:45
  • I'm not denying that he said it, but that quote was removed from the wikipedia page because the citation was invalid. If you are citing wikipedia as your source you may want to remove it, or update the page to add it back with a correct citation.
    – JNK
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 17:12
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    I found one sentence has been deleted of the wiki page after sending it here! Anyway the answer is correct! Wiki says USA has never apologized and has never accepted its responsibility about this human catastrophe. Downvotes are all invalid by this because I sent according to wiki source and now changed it according to it too again! Nothing has changed specially about the main question which the answer is NO!. Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 18:36

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