Washington, Jul 19 : Tensions between Iran and US further escalated as a US warship on Thursday destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz that was threatening the ship and its crew, President Donald Trump told reporters at an event in White house.
"The drone came within 900 meters of the USS Boxer and ignored "multiple calls to stand down.", Trump said. "This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interests."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in New York that he had "no information on losing a drone today." But Trump called on all nations to condemn what he called "Iran's attempt to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce." CNN reported that the Iranian drone was brought down by counter-drone jamming equipment.
The Pentagon said in a statement the incident happened at about 10am(local time). "The amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” it said. “A fixed-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew."
Thursday's incident is bound to increase tensions between the United States and Iran, which are already simmering over U.S. sanctions that have wrecked the Iranian economy, and the U.S. withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran had reached with global powers.
Iran has also started backing away from parts of the deal and has threatened to further increase uranium enrichment unless the European Union helps the Iranian economy.
Iran shot down a US drone last month that it said was flying over its territory. The US said the drone was over international waters. Trump called off a retaliatory airstrike at the last minute, saying he wanted to avoid Iranian casualties.
The US also suspects Iran was behind mine attacks on several foreign oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last month. Iran says US actions in the Middle East, including missile sales to its archrivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, threatened to blow up the region. (UNI)