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U.S. Settles In Downing Of Iranian Jet Families Of 290 Victims Compensated For 1988 Disaster In Persian Gulf

Fri., Feb. 23, 1996

The United States and Iran announced a $131.8 million settlement Thursday of Iranian claims against the United States, including compensation for the 1988 shooting-down of an Iranian airliner that killed 290 people.

The State Department said no U.S. money would go to the Iranian government. Family members of Iranians killed when the U.S. Navy cruiser Vincennes shot an Iran Air A-300 Airbus out of the air over the Persian Gulf on July 3, 1988, will share $61.8 million. The Vincennes’ crew mistook the airliner for a hostile Iranian fighter-bomber during naval clashes in the Persian Gulf during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, U.S. officials said.

The State Department said the other $70 million will go into bank accounts used to pay off private U.S. claims against Iran and Iran’s expenses for the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which is handling the claims. That portion is in settlement of Iranian claims involving banking matters, not the airliner, U.S. officials said.

Contradicting the U.S. statement that the Iranian government will receive none of the money, Tehran announced the settlement as merely a payment to Iran. In addition, the government news agency IRNA reported that $30 million is to compensate for the lost airliner, but U.S. officials denied that.

In light of the agreement, claims pending before the International Court of Justice were dismissed.

The settlement would provide $300,000 for wage-earning victims and $150,000 for non-wage-earners. To make the payments, $61.8 million will be deposited in a bank in Zurich, Switzerland.

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