US President Donald Trump has said that Iran has made a "very big mistake" in shooting down a US drone:
Iran made a very big mistake!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2019
Earlier: US military denounces Iran’s ‘unprovoked attack’
Iran’s shooting down of a US drone took place in international airspace and was an “unprovoked attack”, the American military has said.
A statement from Central Command (Centcom) said the unmanned aircraft – a RQ-4A Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone – was “shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz” early on Thursday.
The statement added that “Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false” and that “this was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace”.
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot the drone down on Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province.
The US military previously alleged that Iran had fired a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman.
The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal a year ago.
- Press Association
Update 9am: The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has said the shooting down of a US drone has sent “a clear message” to America.
General Hossein Salami also said Iran “does not have any intention for war with any country, but we are ready for war”.
His speech was carried live on Iranian state television, shortly after US and Iranian officials acknowledged the shooting down of the drone.
The Guard said it shot down the American drone over Iranian airspace, while US officials told the Associated Press the incident happened over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz.
- Press Association
Update 7.50am: An Iranian surface-to-air missile has shot down an American drone flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, a US official said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said earlier that it had brought down a US drone amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal.
A spokesman said the drone was flying in Iranian airspace, contradicting the American official.
The reported downing of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the US military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week which responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman.
Earlier: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has said it shot down a US drone amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The paramilitary group, which answers only to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone on Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province.
Kouhmobarak is some 750 miles south-east of Tehran and is close to the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, citing the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, identified the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Captain Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, declined to comment when asked if an American drone was shot down.
However, he told The Associated Press: “There was no drone over Iranian territory.”
The reported downing of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the US military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman.
The US blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies.
The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the US and Iran following Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.
Iran recently has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels, trying to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 deal.
In recent weeks, the US has sped an aircraft carrier to the Mideast and deployed additional troops to the tens of thousands already in the region.
Mysterious attacks also have targeted oil tankers as Iranian-allied Houthi rebels launched bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.
All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the US and Iran into an open conflict, some 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.
- Press Association