June 20 : President Donald Trump termed shooting down of an American spy drone by Iran near the entrance to the Persian Gulf as “very big mistake”.Trump termed the downing of a US spy drone by Iran as a new provocation but clearly said his hawkish advisers are not leading him into war and reiterated that endless wars need to end.
“Iran made a very big mistake!” President Donald Trump said on Twitter Thursday morning.
President Trump held a meeting at the White House attended by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, incoming Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo .
“We’re pulling a lot of people back but this is a new wrinkle,” Trump said, noting decisions to draw down troops in Syria and Afghanistan. “This is a new fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that they had used a surface to air missile to shoot down the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone when it entered Iran’s airspace “near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” inside Iranian airspace. The U.S. said the Global Hawk drone was flying in international airspace when it was shot down by an Iranian missile over the Strait of Hormuz, an oil choke point.
Already the tensions between Washington and Tehran are high over the oil tankers attacks and the downing of the drone fanned fears that military confrontation is just a matter of time, stoking tension throughout the Gulf, which supplies one-third of the world’s oil.
The US has confirmed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down a maritime surveillance drone, but denied that it had been flying over Iranian airspace. US military officials called the incident an “unprovoked attack.”
US Central Command released a statement confirming that an RQ-4 Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone had been “shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.”
A CentCom spokesman, Capt Bill Urban said it was a US navy Global Hawk surveillance drone, which had been downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile over the Strait of Hormuz at 11.35pm GMT.
“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” Urban said.
General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, said the incident sent “a clear message” to the US, adding that Iran does “not have any intention for war with any country, but we are ready for war.”
The tensions have escalated to the extent that Washington has also increased its military presence in the region.
The US accused Iran last week of attacking Japanese and Norwegian flagged tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.Iran has rejected Washington’s claims.
It all started when Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and consequently reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil sales in early May, sent military reinforcements to the region so that Iran can be prevented from developing a nuclear bomb.
By Arti Bali