A U.S. warship downed an Iranian drone that was headed straight for it near the Persian Gulf President Trump announced Thursday. He added, “The U.S. reserves the right to defend personnel, facilities, and interests.”
The attempted Iranian attack comes at a time where tensions between the two countries are already at what seems to be a boiling point – and will surely escalate them even more so.
Trump said the USS Boxer attempted to warn the drone, making multiple calls to Iranian Control to stand down. They only downed the drone after it closed to within 1,000 yards of the warship while ignoring their requests. According to U.S. officials, Marines on board disabled the drone using electronic jamming equipment.
The device, known as the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, deployed for the first time in January aboard the USS Kearsarge, the same class of warship as the USS Boxer.
The President called this the latest “provocative and hostile” action by Iran, adding that the drone threatened the safety of the American ship and its crew.
Trump also called upon other countries to condemn what he described as Iran’s attempts to disrupt the freedom of navigation and global commerce in the strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf region.
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman confirmed the incident to Fox News in a statement:
“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. 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.”
Iran, on the other hand, is attempting to cover the failed attack up by denying the altercation altogether.
Upon arriving for a meeting at the United Nations Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he had “no information about having lost a drone today.”
“All drones belonging to Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz returned safely to their bases after their mission of identification and control, and there is no report of any operational response by U.S.S. Boxer” Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior Iranian armed forces spokesman said.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister even tried to reverse the failure, claiming that the U.S. shot down their own drone.
The latest actions came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the wake of the breakdown of the nuclear deal, as the secretive regime announced it exceeded the threshold of low-enriched uranium stockpile as agreed upon in the 2015 accord.
Iran’s state television said earlier Thursday that regime forces captured a foreign tanker with a crew of 12 accused of smuggling oil.
The tanker was seized by Revolutionary Guard forces on July 14 after getting intercepted south of Iran’s Larak Island in the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid allegations that the tanker was smuggling fuel from Iranian smugglers to foreign customers.
The U.S. has recently increased their military presence in the region, accelerating their deployment of the Lincoln and its strike group to the Arabian Sea. They also deployed four B-52 long-range bombers to the Gulf state of Qatar.