Iran denied Friday it lost a drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the United States said it had “destroyed” an Iranian drone that was threatening a U.S. ship.
“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 (Unmanned Aerial System) by mistake!,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Twitter.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted military spokesman Gen. Abolfazl Shekari as saying that “all Iranian drones that are in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one which the U.S. president mentioned, after carrying out scheduled identification and control missions, have returned to their bases.”
The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic waterway for the seaborne transportation of about a fifth of the world’s global crude oil exports.
President Donald Trump said from the White House on Friday that the drone was indeed Iranian, claiming, “We shot it down.” National Security Adviser John Bolton said there is “no question” it was an Iranian drone and that it presented a threat.
Trump said on Thursday that the drone was threatening a U.S. ship and was “immediately destroyed.” He said the drone came within 1,000 yards and ignored “multiple calls to stand down.”
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” the president said. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities, and interests.”
He called on other countries to condemn Iran’s “attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”
“I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the strait and to work with us in the future,” Trump said.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Donovan Slack and Kim Hjelmgaard