Iran shoots down US drone amid rising tensions
20 June 2019
Amidst rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, Iran today said it has shot down a US 'spy' drone over its territory after it violated Iranian airspace even as the Pentagon claimed the drone was in international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz.
The US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by Iran Air Force in the country's southern coastal province of Hormozgan, its Revolutionary Guard said.
The different accounts are yet be independently verified.
The US military had, last week, alleged that Iran had fired a missile at another drone that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blames Iran for the attack on the ships also.
Tehran has denies it was involved in the attack on oil tankers.
Tension between iran and the US heightened following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from nuclear deal with Iran a year ago. The White House also imposed sanctions on the country’s oil trade in a campaign to bring Tehran back to fresh talks on its alleged uranium enrichment plans.
US also sees Iran’s role in a missile strike on Saudi Arabia amid a campaign targeting the kingdom by Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels.
Iran recently said it has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels, trying to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 nuclear deal.
The US, on the other hand, has deployed an aircraft carrier to the Mideast and has dispatched additional troops to the region.
All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the US and Iran into an open conflict, some 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.
While Trump has said that he does not seek war with Iran, the US military has sent forces, including aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers, and troops to the Middle East.
Despite the drone incident that marked direct Iranian attack on the US, Revolutionary Guard commander Gen Hossein Salami also said in a televised address, “We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war.”