RNA - An “American spying drone” was shot down by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force over Iranian airspace at dawn on Thursday. The US Global Hawk drone was brought down near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in the Central district of Jask in Hormozgan Province after the aircraft violated Iran's airspace. According to the IRGC, the US military surveillance drone was flying with its tracking equipment switched off at the time, violating international aviation regulations.
The United States has confirmed that one of its reconnaissance drones was shot down by Iraniain air defenses, but has denied that it intruded into Tehran’s airspace at the time. An unnamed US official told Reuters that the debris field from the US military drone was located in the international waters area of the Strait of Hormuz, adding that US Navy vessels are en route to investigate.
The Iranian top diplomat said Thursday that Tehran "will take this US new aggression to [the] UN and show that the US is lying about international waters".
Zarif said Iran does not want war, "but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters".
The US wages #EconomicTerrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us & now encroaches on our territory.
We don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters.
We'll take this new aggression to #UN & show that the US is lying about international waters
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 20, 2019
The IRGC Aerospace Force said in a statement that it used the Iran-made short-range and mid-altitude 'Third of Khordad' missile defense shield to bring down the US spy drone over the country's Southern coasts.
Commander of the IRGC Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.
The incident sent "a clear message" to the US and other enemies that Iran will show a firm and crushing response to any aggression, Salami stated.
"Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran's territorial integrity and national interests," the major general noted.
The Iranian foreign ministry strongly deplored violation of the country's airspace by the US spy drone, warning of consequences of any aggression.
"We strongly protest at such aggressive and provocative measures and firmly warn against any illegal and aggressive flight of any hostile foreign flying objects over the country's sky and violation of its airspace," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi stated on Thursday.
He warned that the aggressors should account for the consequences of such moves.
The drone downing came just a week after two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. While it remains unclear what happened to the ships, the United States claimed that Iran had carried out the attacks on the two vessels, but cited no evidence, although it release some footage that it called reliable intel. Iran has stated that Washington’s claim that Tehran carried out the attack is unsurprising, warning that the US has resorted to “Plan B” to sabotage the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic efforts.
It also came at a time of growing tensions between Tehran and Washington.
According to Fars News Agancy, the Pentagon has recently approved the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East. The Pentagon will also send Patriot missile systems, drones and surveillance planes in the Middle East.
The United States has also been escalating its military presence in the Persian Gulf, recently sending an aircraft carrier group, a squadron of B-52 bombers and additional Patriot air defense systems as a “message” to Iran.
Without Congress approval, the US administration has recently approved $8.1 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in a bid to "deter Iranian aggression".
In early April, the US administration decided to designate Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, while critics called it stupid and dangerous. In a tit-for-tat measure, Tehran labeled the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle-East as a terrorist entity.
Iran has stressed that it will not be the initiator of any war, but reserves the right to self defense and will give a crushing response to any act of aggression by the United States.
Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has taken a progressively bellicose posture toward Iran. A year and a half into his term, he unilaterally withdrew Washington from an international nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and imposed sanctions against Tehran. He then began pressuring the other cosignatories, including European states, to also abandon the deal.