Both Iranian and US Officials confirmed Thursday that Iran shot down a US naval surveillance drone near the Strait of Hormuz. This only escalates the growing tension between the two nations over the past few months.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps made a statement that it had shot down an RQ-4 Global Hawk that it had targeted when it was flying over Iranian airspace next to the Strait of Hormuz in the country’s southern province of Hormozgan.
Nearly a quarter of all the world’s oil travels through the Strait of Hormuz from the Middle East to global markets.
However, there seems to be some dispute on the exact location of the drone.
US Central Command’s Captain Bill Urban, a Centcom spokesman, said, “US Central Command can confirm that a US Navy…aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.”
According to Urban, “Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” and that “this was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace.
Iran holds to their story and the Revolutionary Guard’s chief commander, Major General Hossein Salami adds, “our borders are Iran’s red line, and we will react strongly against any aggression,” and that this is “a clear message to America.”
Salami went on to say on Iranian state television that “Iran is not seeking war with any country, but we are fully prepared to defend Iran.”
An Iranian news agency near the Revolutionary Guard confirms that the US drone was shot down by their missile defense system, Sevom Khordad.
Since the shooting, the Guard has updated their statement by saying that on the date in question, the drone had “left a base in the southern Persian Gulf” and appeared to be heading into Iran’s Chabahar port “in full secrecy, violating the rules of international aviation.”
Iran and the US are already in somewhat of a standoff due to recent attacks on both Norwegian and Japanese tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has been blamed for the attacks by the White House, as one of them used a limpet mine which has previously been used by Iran for Iranian military parade displays.
Of course, Iran has denied such actions claims these accusations are “a lie” and “unfair.”
These are not the only attacks that Iran has recently been accused of.
US Central Command has said that a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile shot at an MQ-9 reaper drone on June 13th while it was surveilling the attack on the Japanese tanker, Kokuka Courageous.
And Saudi Arabia said that Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired a rocket at one of their desalination plants overnight on Thursday. Fortunately, no damage was reported. And earlier this month, Houthi rebels had shot down an MQ-9 over Yemen using a SA-6 surface-to-air missile. Both incidents are strongly believed to be backed by Iranian assistance.
And in 2011, Iran highjacked a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel surveillance drone while it was flying on the Afghan side of their border with Iran. It was later reported to have landed in northeastern Iran near the city of Kashmar.
Iran claims that it was only taken because they found it about 140 miles from the Afghanistan border, inside Iranian airspace. However, they did also later report that they retrieved data from the drone to produce their own version of the aircraft.