Iran: US drone claim aimed at raising tensions in int’l waterways

Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that a US warship had shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, adding that the false claim is intended to increase tensions in international waterways.

Shekarchi rejected the US president’s claim about an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), stressing that the claim is aimed at creating tension and disrupting security in the strategic waterway.

“Unlike Trump’s delusional and groundless claim, all drones belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by the US president, have returned to their bases safe and sound after carrying out their scheduled surveillance and control operations,” the Armed Forces mouthpiece added.

“The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran always feel duty-bound to protect, control, and safeguard the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with full vigilance while observing international regulations,” he added.

Also on Friday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet, “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else.”

Araqchi added, “I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”

The comments came after President Trump claimed that the USS Boxer had fired on an Iranian drone on Thursday, shooting it down in the Strait of Hormuz.

“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship’s crew,” he said at the White House on the same day.

The US president claimed that Iran’s drone “was immediately destroyed.”

The Pentagon claimed the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the US ship.

“At approximately 10 am local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”

The incident happened a few hours after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had seized a foreign ship that was smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz.

It also came almost a month after the IRGC shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan.