PERSIAN GULF – July 18, 2019 – US President Donald Trump stated on Thursday that a USN ship shot down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz. This comes as the latest in a series of tense incidents between the U.S. and Iran.
Trump told reporters at the White House that the USS Boxer – a USN amphibious assault ship – “took defensive action” against an Iranian drone that had “closed into a very, very near distance, approximately 1,000 yards” and ignored “multiple calls to stand down.”
The drone was allegedly “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” and “was immediately destroyed,” Trump stated.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions against vessels operating in international waters,” the president said, adding that the U.S. “reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, our interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. “
The incident is just one of the latest to be reported happening over the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic oil lifeline just off the coast of Iran, which separates the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Over 30% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments and almost a fifth of oil traded worldwide go through the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz.
Last month, on June 20, IRG (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard) shot down a US ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) drone, caught spying on Iran. IRG shot down the unmanned aircraft after it entered Iranian airspace, although the United States refused to admit that and claimed the drone was allegedly in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz.
After the U.S. drone was shot down, Trump tweeted that the U.S. was “cocked & loaded” to retaliate with military strikes on Iranian targets, but backed off just minutes later, allegedly “after being told 150 people could die”.
The U.S. has also blamed Iran for what the military said was allegedly a limpet mine attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in June. No evidence whatsoever was provided to back the story. Iran has denied any involvement in the incident.
Pressure in the region has been building since President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed illegal sanctions on Iran. Last month, the US President signed an executive order putting in place new sanctions.