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Tehran Asserts Right to Revenge
[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 6 - July 8, 1988
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-09 02:33 (KST)   
The second half of 1988 witnessed the destruction in flight of two civilian airliners. On July 3, Iran Airbus 665 was shot down by a US Navy ship over the Persian Gulf. On Dec. 21, Pan Am 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. According to the official version of history, the downing of the Iranian jetliner was a tragic mistake while the obliteration of Pan Am 103 was an act of terrorism blamed on two Libyan agents. Over the last two decades, there have been persistent allegations that Tehran had ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103 in revenge for the shot down of their Airliner by the USS Vincennes. To mark the 20th anniversary of these two tragedies, Dr Ludwig De Braeckeleer is running a series of articles that document the intelligence and evidence collected about these two events.  <Editor's Note>
"This is one of the biggest crimes of any war."
--Iranian President Ali Khamenei, July 8, 1988

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A crowd estimated at 10,000 chanted "Death to America!" -- in English -- as Iranian President Ali Khamenei, speaking alongside 72 coffins draped in Iranian flags, vowed revenge and called the downing of the airliner by a United States warship "an act of murder."

After the service, the demonstrators carried the coffins to Behesht Zahra, best known as the "cemetery of the martyrs," a vast burial ground for the countless casualties of the Iran-Iraq war.

Iran's president appears to use the tragedy to invigorate his troops. "The best way to fight back is to be present at the front," Khamenei said at the cemetery.

US President Ronald Regan is adamant that the incident is now closed. In his July 4 letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president -- pro tempore -- of the Senate on the destruction of an Iranian Jetliner, Reagan wrote:

"There has been no further hostile action by Iranian forces, and, although U.S. forces will remain prepared to take additional defensive action to protect our units and military personnel, we regard this incident as closed."

Khamenei appears to disagree. He warned the US not to assume, as Reagan seemed confidently to do, that the shooting down of the jet by the US cruiser Vincennes is now a closed chapter.

Khamenei dismissed Washington's claim that the downing of the airliner was a tragic accident. Moreover, he forcefully denied that Iran bears some responsibility in the disaster.

"The Iranian nation and officials assert that they reserve the right to take revenge in any manner and at any place, and, God willing, they will exact revenge with force," Khamenei said.

Surprisingly, amid the extreme hostility of the rhetoric, there was one element of restraint. Khamenei sent a clear message to those who hold Western hostages in Lebanon.

"Those who hold hostages, don't harm them," Khamenei said.

Intelligence

In the immediate aftermath of the USS Vincennes accident, Ahmed Jibril, the founder and leader of the PFLP-GC, called several times from his Damascus headquarters to the Sheik Abdulah barracks in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

The Sheik Abdulah barracks is the main base of Iran Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon. The messages were -- allegedly -- intercepted by the Mossad. Jibril insisted on meeting with Iran hardliners in Tehran.[1]

After a meeting with the Iranian charge d'affaires, Hussain Niknam, a meeting is arranged between Jibril and Iranian officials in Tehran.

On July 8, Jibril arrives in Tehran to begin the negotiations.
1. For a general discussion of foreknowledge of the Lockerbie bombing by the Mossad, consult the following reference: Katz, Samuel M. Israel vs. Jibril: The Thirty-Year War Against a Master Terrorist. New York: Paragon House, 1993.

References

"At Teheran Funeral, 'Death to America!'," July 8, 1988.

"Navy Won't Alter Engagement Rules," July 8, 1988.

"2 Iran F-14's Said to Have Passed a U.S. Ship Day Before Downing," July 8, 1988.

--

Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on "The GaiaPost."
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

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