Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan.
In a statement issued early Thursday, the IRGC said the US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force near the Kouh-e Mobarak region — which sits in the central district of Jask County — after the aircraft violated Iranian airspace.
He told the IRNA news agency that the downing came after repeated violations of Iran’s airspace by US reconnaissance drones in the Persian Gulf region.
Reacting to the news, the US military claimed it did not fly over Iranian airspace on Wednesday. “No US aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace today,” said Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the American military’s Central Command. The different accounts could not be immediately reconciled.
‘A clear message’
Commenting on the operation on Thursday, Major General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s chief commander, said, “At dawn today, the IRGC’s Air Force bravely downed a US spy drone, which had intruded our border, violating our national security. This is how the Iranian nation deals with its enemies.”
The IRGC’s chief said Iranian frontiers are “our red line,” and that the downing of the American drone sent a “transparent and firm message” that the defenders of Iranian borders would react to any act of aggression by any outsider with a “decisive and final” strike.
He reaffirmed that Iran is not seeking war with anyone, but stands fully ready to firmly respond to any aggression.
Tensions have been running between Iran and the US in recent weeks, with Washington stepping up its provocative military moves in the Middle East.
Last month, Washington dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber task force, and an amphibious assault ship to the Persian Gulf, citing an alleged Iranian threat.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that the US will send 1,000 additional US forces and more military resources to the Middle East.
Tehran believes the US has a hand in a set of suspicious regional incidents in recent weeks, such as the June 13 attacks against oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, in a bid to pin the blame on Iran and put more pressure on the country.
Last week, UN sources revealed that the United States was planning to carry out a “tactical assault” on an Iranian nuclear facility in response to the alleged Iranian role in the tanker attacks.
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