Leader thanks IRGC for downing U.S. spy drone, seizing British tanker

August 18, 2019

TEHRAN – The Leader of the Islamic Revolution has praised the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for downing an invading U.S. spy drone and capturing a British oil tanker at the Persian Gulf.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s message of thanks was delivered by his representative in the IRGC, Hojjatoleslam Abdollah Haji Sadeqi, on Sunday when he visited military forces in southern Iran.

“Before I went to visit the Persian Gulf islands, I met the Supreme Leader and asked for his recommendations about the trip,” Haji Sadeqi said.

“He told me to relay his greetings (to the IRGC forces) and thank them and tell them that they have done a great job,” he added.

Using indigenously built Sevvom Khordad surface-to-air missile system, Iran's air defense forces shot down a U.S. spy drone, a MQ4-C Triton, over Iran's territorial waters on June 20.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, said that his forces could have also shot down a U.S. P8 aircraft with 35 personnel on board which was violating Iran’s airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.

“We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region,” General Hajizadeh said on June 21, adding that his forces had also traced a military P8 aircraft violating the airspace of Iran.

Also, on July 19, the IRGC Navy impounded the British tanker Stena Impero when it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz en route to Saudi Arabia “for failing to respect international maritime rules”.

"British tanker ship, the Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the Guards Navy’s First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization's office of Hormozgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon,” an official statement by the Iranian authorities said.

The statement added that the ship had been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormozgan province and its control had been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.

SP/PA

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