USA shoots down Iranian drone

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2019

The American amphibious assault ship "took defensive action", he said.

The ship was seized near Larak Island and carried almost 265,000 gallons of fuel, Iranian officials said.

The move came at a time of mounting tensions between the USA and Iran over the unravelling nuclear deal between Tehran and other world powers.

Washington has blamed Tehran for a series of tanker attacks in recent months off the United Arab Emirates coast, charges Iran denies. Tehran rejects the allegations. Several former US officials subsequently told Yahoo News that, while it was unlikely that the drone did actually enter Iranian airspace, American drones have previously been flown over Iran.

India is the biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China.

The Trump administration will continue to launch retaliatory strikes against Iran, but the regime can not afford to go to war with the United States, Newsmax national security analyst Raymond Tanter said Thursday.

The downing of the Iranian drone also came one month after a USA drone operating over the Strait of Hormuz was shot down by Iranian air defense system on June 19, which nearly led to a US military retaliation against Iran.

Also Thursday, the U.S. sanctioned a number of companies and individuals it said were involved in an illicit network to procure materials for Iran's nuclear program.

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The sanctions come as Iran has breached limits on uranium production set under the 2015 worldwide agreement to limit its nuclear program amid the growing bite of United States sanctions that were imposed as part of Trump's decision to withdraw from that pact.

Iran's clerical rulers have ruled out renegotiating the nuclear deal or holding talks on its missile programme, which it says is purely defensive.

But Zarif told reporters on Thursday that Iran had offered to make a concession on its nuclear programme - to ratify a document prescribing more intrusive inspections - if the United States abandoned its economic sanctions - a proposal that drew USA scepticism.

In May the Pentagon announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to waters near Iran in response to "indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces".

Iran has seized a foreign tanker with 12 crew accused of smuggling fuel in the Gulf, state television quoted Iran's Revolutionary Guards as saying on Thursday. 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.

"We do this (inspecting ships) every day".

"We want to make sure that we assure allies in the region and to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce", Colonel Fridrik Fridrikson of the 11 Marine Expeditionary Unit said prior to the incident, according to Reuters.

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