Trump lauds Iran’s decision not to shoot down manned plane

June 23, 2019

TEHRAN – U.S. President Donald Trump has lauded Iran’s decision not to shoot down a plane carrying 38 people when it shot down an unmanned U.S. spy drone on Thursday morning.

“There was a plane with 38 people yesterday, did you see that?” Trump told reporters on Saturday before leaving the White House for Camp David.

“I think that’s a big story. They had it in their sights and they didn’t shoot it down. I think they were very wise not to do that. And we appreciate that they didn’t do that. I think that was a very wise decision.”

The IRGC announced on Thursday that its air defense force had shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan.

“Along with the U.S. drone, there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board,” Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Aerospace Division of the IRGC, told reporters on Friday.

“This plane also entered our airspace and we could have targeted it, but we did not because our purpose behind shooting down the American drone was to give a warning to terrorist American forces,” Hajizadeh explained.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Trump hoped that Iran would not build nuclear weapons, despite the fact that the Islamic Republic has repeatedly said it does not intend to acquire nuclear weapons and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on numerous occasions certified the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program.

“They’re not going to have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said. “We’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon.”

“When they agree to that, they’re going to have a wealthy country. They’re going to be so happy, and I’m going to be their best friend. I hope that happens.”

Later in the day, Trump took to Twitter to repeat his claims and announce that the U.S. is putting major additional sanctions on Iran on Monday.

“Iran cannot have Nuclear Weapons! Under the terrible Obama plan, they would have been on their way to Nuclear in a short number of years, and existing verification is not acceptable.” 

Mohamed ElBaradei, who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency for 12 years, said in September 2009 that there was no concrete evidence that Tehran has a nuclear weapons program.

“Many people are talking about how Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest threat to the world. In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped,” he told the specialist Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 

“The idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts,” said ElBaradei.

Additional sanctions on Iran

Trump also said more sanctions will be introduced against Iran on Monday.

“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday. I look forward to the day that sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again - The sooner the better!” he added.

In another tweet, he pointed to the drone incident, saying, “I never called the strike against Iran ‘BACK,’ as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”


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