Iran has rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that a US warship has shot down an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Strait of Hormuz, saying it has not lost any drone either in that area or anywhere else.
“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet on Friday.
“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”
His comments came after President Trump claimed that the USS Boxer had fired on an Iranian drone on Thursday, shooting it down in the Strait of Hormuz.
“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship’s crew,” he said at the White House on the same day.
The US president claimed that Iran’s drone “was immediately destroyed.”
The Pentagon claimed the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the US ship.
“At approximately 10 am local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
“A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was not aware of any downing of an Iranian drone.
“We have no information about losing a drone today,” Zarif told reporters at the United Nations before a meeting with Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Shortly after Trump’s claim, Zarif re-tweeted a map originally posted on June 22 that shows the borders of Iran and the United States.
The June 22 tweet came in reaction to Iran’s downing of the US drone that had encroached on Iranian airspace.
The incident also happened a few hours after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had seized a foreign tanker that was smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz.
Washington has been escalating tensions with Iran under Trump. Leading a signature policy of “maximum pressure,” the US quit a United Nations-ratified nuclear agreement between Iran and six world states. It then proceeded to restore the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
It has, in addition, sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber task force, an amphibious assault ship, and some 1,500 more forces to the region.