President Donald Trump has said that the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone on Thursday after the latter refused to back down.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said: “I want to apprise everyone of an incident in the Strait of Hormuz today involving USS Boxer, a navy amphibious assault ship.”
He said the USS Boxer downed the drone over the Strait of Hormuz — a strategic sea passage in the Gulf — after it came within 1,000 yards (914m) of the ship.
“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very, very near distance, approximately 1,000 yards (914m), ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew. The drone was immediately destroyed,” he continued.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Trump said.
Meanwhile Iran said it had no information about losing a drone. In June, Iran shot down a US military drone in the area.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, appeared to brush off the president’s broadside. “The drone issue is being investigated, but based on the latest news I have from Tehran, we have no information about losing a drone,” he told reporters at the United Nations.
A senior Iranian official dismissed the US statement. In a tweet posted 19 July, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi even suggested the US may have downed its own drone by mistake.
“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!” read the tweet.