Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

U.S. Navy Ship Destroys Iranian Drone Over Strait Of Hormuz

U.S. Navy Ship Destroys Iranian Drone Over Strait Of Hormuz

The downing of the drone comes at a time of mounting tensions in the Gulf region between the United States and Iran which has been slapped with a raft of sanctions by the Trump administration.

Britain also said last week that one of its warships had to fend off Iranian vessels seeking to block a UK-owned tanker from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

"We certainly have the ability to do it, but we certainly don't want to do it because the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are our lifeline", Zarif said in NY.

Reuters reported an Iranian official said Thursday he didn't know anything about a lost drone. The drone was "immediately destroyed", Trump said, after it approached within 1,000 yards (914 meters) of the Boxer, Trump said.

In May, two Emirati oil tankers were among four tankers attacked in acts of sabotage that the USA has blamed on Iran.

Commenting on Trump's words, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: "We have no information about having lost a drone today".

This after Trump said he was making good progress with Iran, a statement backed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On Thursday, Iranian television broadcast footage appearing to show patrol boats of a kind used by the Guards, circling a tanker marked "Riah" and "Panama".

Tensions in the Gulf region are high, with fears that the United States and Iran could stumble into war. It is based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but flies a flag from the country of Panama.

The report added that the Revolutionary Guards had towed the vessel on Sunday after a distress call and it was later seized for fuel smuggling.

A US warship on Thursday destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the ship, President Donald Trump said. The US says it wants to increase pressure on Iran to renegotiate the accord, discuss its ballistic missile programme and modify its behaviour in the Gulf.

Earlier this week it was reported that a Panama-flagged oil tanker, Riah, stopped transmitting its location on Saturday as it made its way through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has rejected the accusation, which followed Tehran warning of "consequences" over an Iranian tanker being seized off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.

The U.S. response was the latest incident to stir tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has recently exceeded uranium production and enrichment limits in violation of the agreement in an effort to pressure Europe to offer more favorable terms to allow it to sell its crude oil overseas.

A senior administration official responded that Trump has repeatedly said he is willing to have a conversation with Iranian leaders.

The United States also imposed new sanctions on Thursday on five people and seven entities in connection to Iran's nuclear program and non-proliferation matters, the Treasury Department said.

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