President Donald Trump says that a US ship has shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
Trump said that the USS Boxer fired on the drone Thursday, four weeks after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone flying over Iranian waters near the Strait of Hormuz.
“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship’s crew,” he said at the White House on the same day.
The president added that Iran’s drone “was immediately destroyed.”
The Pentagon claimed the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the US ship.
“At approximately 10 am local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement. “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.”
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was not aware of any downing of an Iranian drone.
“We have no information about losing a drone today,” Zarif told reporters at the United Nations before a meeting with Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Shortly after Trump’s claim, Zarif re-tweeted a map originally posted on June 22 that shows the borders of Iran and the United States.
The June 22 tweet came in reaction to Iran’s downing of the US drone that had encroached on Iranian airspace.
On Thursday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had seized a foreign ship that was smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz.
A local IRGC naval command post published the details of the seizure in a statement on Thursday.
Washington has been escalating tensions with Iran under Trump. Leading a signature policy of “maximum pressure,” the US quit a United Nations-ratified nuclear agreement between Iran and six world states. It then proceeded to restore the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
It has, in addition, sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber task force, an amphibious assault ship, and some 1,500 more forces to the region.