As if the hostile sentiments weren’t enough, Iran shot down an American drone with a surface-to-air missile on Thursday. This indecent raises concerns that a massive military conflict could take place between Tehran and Washington in the Middle East.
Although Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) claimed that the US drone was shot down after it flew inside Iranian airspace, US officials said that the aircraft was in international skies during the time of the incident.
Neither account could be immediately reconciled.
According to the Revolutionary Guards website, “The US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan. It was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the southern region” reports Al Jazeera.
This event marks the first direct Iranian-claimed attack on an American vessel during an escalated crisis following the US imposed crippling sanctions on Iran earlier this year as well as a greater military presence in the Persian Gulf.
The United States military denied that any of its unmanned aerial assets crossed into Iranian airspace.
“There was no drone over Iranian territory,” Navy Captain Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, told The Associated Press news agency. He did not comment any further.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two US officials said that a MQ-4C Triton US Navy drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.
No further details were immediately available, including the time of the incident.