Iran made a very big mistake, says Donald Trump
Iran says it shot down US drone over its airspace, the Pentagon insists it was in international airspace
Washington: President Donald Trump said Thursday that Iran has made a "very big mistake" by shooting down a US spy drone, an incident that is likely to further escalate already soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran. Both the US and Iran said that Iranian forces had shot down an American military surveillance drone, but the two sides offered conflicting details on the incident.
The BAMS-D drone was downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, a US Central Command spokesman, Navy Captain Bill Urban, said in a statement.
"Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," he added. "This was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace." Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone on Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace close to the Strait of Hormuz, and the incident sent a "clear message to America".
On Monday, the US defence department said it was deploying 1,000 extra troops to the region in response to "hostile behaviour" by Iranian forces. It has already sent an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers.
The US has also accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers with mines last Thursday just outside the Strait of Hormuz, in the Gulf of Oman. Iran rejects the allegation. Tensions were further fuelled on Monday when Iran announced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium would next week exceed limits it agreed with world powers under a landmark nuclear deal in 2015.
Iran to approach UN
Iran said Thursday it would go to the UN. "We'll take this new aggression to #UN & show that the US is lying about international waters," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, after a US general said the drone was taken down some 34 kilometres (21 miles) from the Iranian coast. "We don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters," Zarif said.
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