Iran claims Revolutionary Guard shot down U.S. drone

Clay Curtis
June 20, 2019

A visitor walks past a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, southern England.

In response, the USA military said it did not fly over Iranian airspace.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps air force shot down an "American espionage drone" that was invading Iranian territory, the IRGC's public relations arm said in a statement released on Thursday.

An RQ-4 Global Hawk drone conducting tests in Maryland in a U.S. Navy handout from 2017.

However, he told The Associated Press: "There was no drone over Iranian territory".

The US military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week after that drone responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman.

The US and its regional ally Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for the incidents. The US blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies.

Two oil tankers were attacked on the strategic Hormuz Strait.

The alleged shootdown comes at a time of heightened tensions between the USA and Iran, with not only the alleged attacks on the tankers, but with Iran threatening to step up its nuclear activities.

Rocket attack targets oil firms in eastern Iraq
ExxonMobil preemptively evacuated several dozen worldwide staff members from the nearby West Qurna oil field last month. The rocket hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of Basra, Iraqi police said.

Iran has confirmed it shot down a USA drone as tensions in the Middle East rise with the United States.

File image of US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

The reported shootdown has taken place at a time when tensions between Tehran and America have been rising over its collapsing nuclear deal.

The US has already sent 1,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions.

Another senior US official told Fox News last week that an MQ9 Reaper drone was sacked on by the Iranians shortly after it arrived at the scene where the MV Altair tanker sent out a distress signal.

To counter Iran's threats, the United States military has sent forces, including aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers and troops to the Middle East. The White House separately said it was aware of reports of a missile strike on Saudi Arabia amid a campaign targeting the kingdom by Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels.

However, earlier this week, a spokesman for Iran's atomic energy agency warned that Tehran would surpass limits on its uranium stockpile under the deal and said it was prepared to increase its enrichment to a level just one step short of weapons-grade, which also violates the terms of the agreement. Saudi state media and officials did not immediately report a missile strike Thursday.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies", Sanders added. In recent weeks, the Houthis have launched a new campaign sending missiles and bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

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