A United States spy drone was some 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the nearest point in Iran when it was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile Thursday, a USA general said.
According to Urban, the downed drone is an RQ-4A Global Hawk, the Navy's version of the high-altitude, long endurance aircraft that performs intelligence and surveillance missions "over vast ocean and coastal regions".
Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
A USA official, however, confirmed the incident to the Associated Press and said that the drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile over worldwide airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. Graham said after emerging from a classified briefing for lawmakers on Iran. Thursday's drone incident marks the first direct Iranian-claimed attack on the US amid the crisis.
IRNA, citing the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, identified the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk. It also acknowledged the successful shooting down of an MQ-9 Reaper drone on June 6 by Yemen's Houthi forces, which are allied to Iran. Iran on Monday warned European signatories that it would breach the nuclear accord, which had traded some sanctions relief for limits on Tehran's nuclear program, as soon as June 27 unless they find a way to circumvent US penalties. Earlier this year, the IRGC released footage it said was taken from such a hack, in which it forced a US drone to crash land in the Syrian desert.
Tensions were further fuelled on Monday when Iran said its stockpile of low-enriched uranium would next week exceed limits it agreed with worldwide powers in 2015.More news: David Ortiz's lawyer slams affair claims, says former slugger has 'no enemies'
More news: Henderson leads Meijer Classic after birdie blitz
More news: Boris Johnson builds lead in race to be next United Kingdom prime minister
As for the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, Graham said it's imperative that the US clearly tell the Iranians that any attempt to increase uranium enrichment will be seen as a "hostile act against the United States and our allies in Israel and will not go unanswered".
The Pentagon confirmed a U.S. surveillance drone was shot down by Iranian forces, but it insisted the unmanned aircraft was in global airspace.
"The downing of the American drone was a clear message to America", the Revolutionary Guard's chief commander, Gen. Hossein Salami, said Thursday.
While Iran has continued complying with the agreement for the last 12 months, the USA has slowly reapplied sanctions it had lifted in return for Iran limiting the scope of its nuclear programme. Russia, on the other hand, came to Iran's support and warned against "hasty conclusions" over the incident.
On Wednesday, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, told a panel of lawmakers that the decision to authorize another 1,000 troops to bolster defenses at U.S. positions in Iraq and Syria - including a Patriot missile battery and additional manned and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft - had been effective. White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said President Trump had been "briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".