Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai that was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes on 3 July 1988. The incident took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the flight's usual flight path. The aircraft, an Airbus A300 B2-203, was destroyed by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the Vincennes.
All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, died. This event ranks seventh among the deadliest disasters in aviation history, 10th if including the 9/11 attacks, which include ground casualties; the incident retains the highest death toll of any aviation incident in the Persian Gulf. The Vincennes had entered Iranian territorial waters after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits.
The United States government did not formally apologize to Iran. In 1996, the United States and Iran reached a settlement at the International Court of Justice which included the statement "...the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives caused by the incident...". As part of the settlement, the United States did not admit legal liability but agreed to pay on an ex gratia basis US$61.8 million, amounting to $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.