ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iran’s air force shot down a US drone early Thursday on the beaches of the southern province of Hormozgan, the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said, according to a military-affiliated media outlet.
Citing the IRCG, the Fars news agency report claimed that the airforce shot down an American “Global Hawk” unit when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kuhmubarak area of Hormozgan Province.
The incident comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the US, which held Tehran responsible for attacks just last week on two oil tankers cruising the Gulf of Oman and four other commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz last month. Tehran denies any involvement, while IRGC military officials have stated that if they took such actions, they would do so publicly.
A spokesperson for the US military’s Central Command said no US aircraft were flying over Iran on Wednesday.
“No U.S. aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace today,” the spokesperson, Navy Captain Bill Urban, said shortly before midnight, according to Reuters.
Recently, the US military confirmed that Iran attempted to shoot down a US drone last week. Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen shot down a US drone on June 6.
Iran has said that they will “strongly respond” to any violations of its airspace.
“Our airspace is our red line, and Iran has always responded and will continue to respond strongly to any country that violates our airspace,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council as saying.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have reached all-time highs a year after the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers and imposed multiple rounds of sanctions that have severely limited Iran’s capacity for trade, notably its oil exports.
The US has repeatedly stated that it does not seek war with Iran but instead wants to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, possibly to work on a new deal.
US President Donald Trump has said the earlier agreement did not reign in what his administration describes as “malign” extraterritorial activities by Tehran, which support and has trained a number of paramilitary forces in the Middle East that have directly engaged US forces in the past. In early April, the US State Department designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.
In the past two months, unidentified perpetrators have launched several mortar and Katyusha rocket attacks in separate incidents, seemingly to target compounds and buildings where US personnel and troops are stationed, including the US embassy in Baghdad.
Amid Washington's growing security concerns for its allies and interests in the region, it recently added an additional 1,000 troops it will send to the Middle East.
Editing by John J. Catherine