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Iran shoots down U.S. surveillance drone, both countries accuse each other of being at fault

June 21, 2019

On Thursday, Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, according to both nations.

The U.S. and Iran disagreed on whether or not the drone was flying over Iranian airspace, which is a crucial factor in determining which nation was at fault. This is the latest of a series of escalating conflicts between the two nations.

Iranian officials said the drone was flying over Iran, a claim the U.S. military denied. With differing reports, both sides accused the other of being the aggressor.

According to both nations, the drone was shot down on Thursday at 4:05 a.m. Iranian time, 7:35 p.m. Washington time. The United States Central Command said the drone “was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”

“Iran made a very big mistake!” President Trump tweeted on Thursday, which is his first public statement on the strike.

According to Iranian media, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, flying a drone into Iranian airspace was an “aggressive and provocative” move by the United States.

Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said entering the country’s border was “our red line,” according to the Mehr news agency. Salami said his country’s shooting down the drone showed “how the Iranian nation deals with its enemies.”

According to Iranian Press TV, Salami said, “We are not going to get engaged in a war with any country, but we are fully prepared for war. Today’s incident was a clear sign of this precise message, so we are continuing our resistance.”

Press TV reported that the U.S. drone had flown over Iranian territory without authorization and was shot down in the Hormozgan province, along the southern coast of the country on the Persian Gulf.

Both the U.S. and Iran identified the surveillance drone as a Northrop Grumman-made RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Last week, U.S. officials said Iran fired surface-to-air missiles at a drone flying over the Gulf of Oman on the same day of the attacks on the two tanker ships. The U.S. has officially accused Iran of being responsible for the attacks on the tankers as well as four other attacks that occurred in May against four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iranian officials have repeatedly denied responsibility for these attacks.

On Wednesday, United States officials told journalists that fragments recovered from one of the damaged tankers had a “striking resemblance” to limpet mines that Iran used. A Navy official said the ongoing investigation discovered fingerprints and other valuable information at the scene of the attack. Before that, the U.S. released a video purportedly showing Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the ship’s hulls.

Video purportedly showing Iran shooting down the drone has been released and shared on YouTube.

– MK. II

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