Washington, 19 July 2019 (dpa/MIA) – The US “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz which came within 1,000 yards (914 metres) of the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.” Trump described the downing as a “defensive action” after the Iranians failed to heed multiple warnings to stand down.
The Pentagon said the Boxer was in international waters. The Boxer had reportedly been accompanying other vessels in the area before the incident.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had “no information about losing a drone,” in comments to reporters in New York.
The drone incident is the latest flare up in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow strategic shipping route for oil that passes between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran recently downed a US spy drone and escalation between the sides had raised concerns the two countries might go to war.
Trump also used the occasion to urge other nations to condemn Iran and to step up their own protective measures in the Strait.
Hours earlier, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said its forces seized a foreign tanker in the Strait and arrested its 12 crew members.
Iranian forces this month have also attempted to stop a British ship but were fended off by the British military. The US has also accused Iran of attacks on tankers, though Tehran denies involvement.
The US has been deploying military assets, such as the Boxer, to the region. Last month, the US said it was sending 1,000 additional troops to the region. The US has forces stationed in Arab nations in the area.
“The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt the freedom of navigation and global commerce,” Trump said.