Iran has lost no drone: defense minister

July 24, 2019

TEHRAN - Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami confirmed on Wednesday that no Iranian drone has been shot down.

His comments came as CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie claimed on Tuesday that Pentagon says it brought down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz last week may also have brought down a second drone.

“We’re confident we brought down one drone; we may have brought down a second,” McKenzie said in an interview with CBS News.

Speaking at the White House on July 18, 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.”

Iranian 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.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for the Iranian military, said on July 19 that Iran has not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz, rejecting Trump’s claim.

“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,” he said.

Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on Sunday Trump’s lie about shooting down an Iranian drone was so big that even Iran believed it at first.

“After Trump’s claim about downing an Iranian drone, we checked with various units several times, because we could not believe that he himself would directly tell such a big lie to the media,” he said.

NA/PA

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