Trump says US Navy ship destroys Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2019

President Trump said the USS Boxer took defensive action after the drone closed to within 1,000 yards of the warship and ignored multiple calls to stand down. "The drone was immediately destroyed".

"The drone was immediately destroyed", Mr Trump said.

Tension is heightening between Washington and Tehran.

"The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests. I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Straight of Hormuz and to work with us in the future".

Meanwhile, the US Treasury named a group of companies in Iran, Belgium and China to its sanctions blacklist Thursday for acting as a supply network for Tehran´s nuclear enrichment program.

Calling the move a defensive action, Mr Trump said the USS Boxer fired on the drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

The incident came as Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that it had seized a foreign ship "smuggling fuel" in the Gulf on Thursday and days after reports of a British tanker being harassed in the region.

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It was seized south of the Iranian island of Larak, the Guards said without detailing the name or provenance of the vessel. Iran accused them of smuggling oil in the Persian Gulf.

U.S. officials say they are unsure whether the oil tanker was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserts.

A defence department official quoted by the New York Times said the drone had been brought down using electronic jamming equipment.

United Kingdom warships have meanwhile been shadowing British oil tankers in the area since Iran threatened to seize one in response to the impounding of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar.

Britain has since said it would facilitate the release of the tanker if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel would not breach European Union sanctions on shipments to Syria.

Esper reiterated on Tuesday that the USA wants to get back on a diplomatic track with Iran, saying the administration would meet Iran "anytime, anywhere with no preconditions".

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