Specter of war shattered after IRGC downing of U.S. drone: general

August 30, 2019 - 19:46

TEHRAN – Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said on Thursday that the shooting down of the intruding U.S. drone two months ago shattered the specter of war against the Islamic Republic.

The enemies had launched an extensive propaganda campaign to threaten Iran with a war, in such a way that even the intelligence services of the friendly countries were warning Tehran about a looming military action, Tasnim quoted Hajizadeh as saying.

However, the Islamic Republic was mindful that it was a trick to force Tehran to the negotiating table, he said.

“We were confident that if they (enemies) had made the first mistake, we would have attacked their bases around us,” the commander added.

On June 20, the IRGC Aerospace downed an American RQ-4 Global Hawk drone over the Strait of Hormuz after it violated Iranian airspace. Despite the U.S. claims that the drone had been flying over international waters, Iran said it had retrieved sections of the drone in its own territorial waters where it was shot down.

The intruding drone was shot by Iran’s homegrown air defense missile system “Khordad-3rd”.

In comments made a few hours after the incident, IRGC Chief Major General Hossein Salami said the incident had a straightforward message that any foreign intrusion into Iranian territories would draw a crushing response.

U.S. President Donald Trump later said the U.S. had been “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran after he learned an Iranian missile system shot down a U.S. military drone.

However, the U.S. president claimed he decided to call off the mission after he learned 150 Iranians would die as a result of the strike.

In remarks on Wednesday, Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said Iran’s military power deterred the United States from taking any action after the Islamic Republic shot down the drone.

“Following the downing of the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, if the U.S. decided to attack us but eventually called off the attack on the pretext of avoiding casualties, it is because of Iran’s deterrence power,” Major General Baqeri said.

Tensions started to build up between the U.S. and Iran after Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and imposed sanctions against Tehran in a bid to put maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic. Tehran has slammed the sanctions, which have affected the lives of thousands of Iranians, as “economic terrorism”.

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