Iran military rejects Trump claim of ‘destroying’ Iranian drone

July 19, 2019

TEHRAN – A senior spokesman for the Iranian military says Iran has not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz, rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that a U.S. warship had shot down an Iranian drone in the strait.

“Contrary to Trump’s delusional claim, all drones belonging to Iran in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by him, have returned to their bases safe and sound,” Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Friday, Mehr reported.

“There has been no report indicating that the USS Boxer has conducted a counter-operation,” Shekarchi announced.

“The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran always feel duty-bound to protect, control, and safeguard the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with full vigilance while observing international standards,” he added.

It came a day after President Trump announced that the USS Boxer downed an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 yards of the Navy ship and ignored “multiple calls to stand down.”

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” in the Strait of Hormuz and was “immediately destroyed.”

“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump added. 

“The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interest and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday he was not aware of any downing of an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

“We have no information about losing a drone today,” Zarif told reporters at the United Nations before a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

He later said the issue is still under investigation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also reacted to the U.S. claim, saying, “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else.”

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!” he tweeted on Friday.

This comes almost a month after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down a highly-sophisticated U.S. stealth drone after it violated Iran’s airspace.

The IRGC brought the drone down by firing a surface-to-air missile at it, only after it gave the drone four warnings.

“In fact, four warnings were given to this drone but they did not pay attention,” Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace unit of the IRGC, said after the incident.

“Another spy plane was also flying near this drone which carried 35 crew members and we had the right to shoot that down as well, however, we only shot down the unmanned drone,” he added.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated since the U.S. administration of Donald Trump adopted a distinctly hostile approach toward Iran, which included pulling out of the historic Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing sanctions on Tehran. 

MH/

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