Iran downs 'unknown' drone over Persian Gulf port

Ruben Fields
November 8, 2019

The official and Iranian news outlets did not say which country it came from or whether it was a military or civilian drone.

According to a report by ISNA news agency, the Air Force Defense of the Iranian Army shot down an unidentified drone over Bandar-e Mahshahr in the Persian Gulf early on Friday morning.

Shariati said the drone violated Iran's airspace.

The governor added that the drone "definitely belonged to foreign countries".

Iran's air defence force hit the "unknown" drone early on Friday morning at the port city of Mahshahr in the country's southwest, IRNA reported. The port is the leading hub for Iranian activity in the Gulf, as well as a petrochemical facility. The agency later deleted those details from its site. Iran has claimed to have shot down drones before, only for further news on the incidents not to be made public.

Relations between Iran and the United States have worsened since past year when President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.

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The tweet did not specify a location for the incident it was referring to - or cite where such allegations arose from - but added "all United States equipment has been accounted for".

Washington said the USA drone had been shot down by Iran in global airspace over the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf. In that episode, Washington said the aircraft was in global airspace, but Iran maintains it was over its territorial waters.

The crisis deepened with the September 14 attacks on energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, which halved the kingdom's crude output.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted in August at possible Israeli involvement in attacks on Iranian-backed militia positions in Iraq.

The US has been responding to the escalating tensions with a military build-up in the Gulf and on Thursday launched a new operation with its allies from Bahrain to protect navigation in Gulf waters.

Since May, the USA has increased its 70,000-strong presence in the Middle East by 14,000 personnel, according to Pentagon figures, majority deployed to the Gulf region.

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