Tensions between Iran and the United States escalated after an Iranian missile struck a US drone. Trump promised to respond to a large-scale attack on targets in Iran, but he backed out at the last moment, as attacks would not be proportionate.
US targets, including regional bases and the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, are within reach of the Iranian missiles, and Washington knows this, said the commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, on Friday.
“US forces in the region were a threat, but now they are an opportunity [for Iran] … They (the US) do not talk about war with Iran because they know how susceptible they are,” Hajizadeh said in a speech to according to Reuters.
Earlier, during a news conference and alongside what appeared to be the remains of a US drone that Iran said killed after failing to respond to two airspace violation warnings, Hajizadeh said an American spy plane with dozens of military was also flying nearby, but was spared as destroying the drone would serve as a “warning to American terrorist forces.”
The US Central Command has not yet commented on the commander’s allegations.
“Iran’s goal in bringing down the drone was to warn the American terrorist forces, because it could also hit an American P-8 military plane that was flying alongside the MQ-4C drone, but did not,” said Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGC), quoted by Tasnim.
#Iran’s purpose by shooting down the drone was to warn the “#US terrorist forces” as it could also target an #American P-8 military aircraft that was flying next to MQ-4C drone, but it didn’t: Brigadier General Hajizadeh pic.twitter.com/V6xT8YwB31
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) June 21, 2019
Hajizadeh also told reporters that Iran made two warnings to the US military prior to overthrowing the drone.
“Unfortunately, they did not respond […] and the aircraft did not change its flight path … we were forced to knock it down,” he said.
On June 20, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed to have overthrown a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk drone that would have invaded its airspace in Hormozgan province near the Strait of Hormuz.
The United States Department of Defense, for its part, insists that the unmanned aerial vehicle was not in Iranian territory, but in international waters , when it was overthrown.