Iran shoots down US drone aircraft

Iranian forces have shot down a United States mil...

Posted: Jun 20, 2019 8:01 AM
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 9:00 AM

Iranian forces have shot down a United States military drone, a move that appears to have escalated the volatile situation playing out between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it had shot down an 'intruding American spy drone' after it entered into the country's territory Thursday.

A US official confirmed to CNN a drone had been shot down, but said the incident occurred in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most vital shipping routes.

US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said in a statement Thursday that the drone that was shot down by Iran was a RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long, Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

The head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, said the shooting down of the drone had sent a warning to the US.

'The only way for our enemies to be safe is to respect our sovereignty, national security, and the national interests of the great Iranian nation,' Salami said, according Tasnim.

In comments likely to inflame tensions, Salami said that Iran does 'not want war with any country, but we are completely, and totally, ready and prepared for war.'

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Revolutionary Guard said the drone was launched from a US base south of the Persian Gulf shortly after midnight on Thursday. It said it flew from the Strait of Hormuz towards Chabahar, a city in southeast Iran.

'While returning to the western Hormuz Strait's region the drone violated Iran's airspace and engaged in information gathering and spying,' the statement said.

'At 4.05 a.m. local time while the violating airplane was over Iranian territory, [it] was shot down,' it added.

According to Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency, the drone was shot down by Khordad-3 medium range air defense missile.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Abbas Mousavi said the country condemned the 'aggressive and provocative action.'

'We warn against any violation of Iran's airspace by foreign flying objects and declare that violators are responsible for the consequences of their actions,' he was quoted by Tasnim as saying.

Reuters quoted Cap. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US Central Command, as saying 'no US aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace' Thursday.

Relations between the two adversaries have taken a dangerous turn this week, beginning with the Trump administration's decision Monday to deploy 1,000 additional troops and more military resources to the Middle East. The forces are being sent in response to what Washington called 'hostile behavior by Iranian forces that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region.'

US officials blame Iran for conducting attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and the US President himself last week accused Iran of being behind the provocation, telling Fox News: 'It was them that did it.'

Tehran has categorically denied the accusations, and President Hassan Rouhani said the country does not seek war but 'is determined to show its hopefulness and vitality and defeat the enemy's plot.'

Iran has previously been accused of targeting US drones.

In the hours before the attack on the two tankers earlier this month, the Iranians spotted a US drone flying overhead and launched a surface-to-air missile at the unmanned aircraft, a US official told CNN.

In 2014, the Iran's armed forces revealed what it claimed was a copy of a stealth American drone 'commandeered' by Tehran in 2011.

Relations between Iran and the United States have deteriorated since May 2018, when Washington chose to leave the 2015 nuclear deal the Iranian regime negotiated with world powers and reimpose crippling sanctions on Iran's economy.

Trump and many conservatives in the US had long criticized the deal, which allowed Iran to stockpile limited amounts of enriched uranium and heavy water produced in that process, exporting any excess.

Doing so has become extremely difficult after the US revoked waivers that allowed Iran to export those excess stockpiles, effectively forcing Iran to halt enrichment or ignore the limits, which it is now doing.

After a year of waiting, Rouhani announced last month that it would reduce its 'commitments to the deal,' but not fully withdraw from it.

Iran then announced this week that it would resume nuclear enrichment activities, accelerating uranium enrichment to 3.7% -- above the 3.67% mandated by the nuclear deal. Enrichment at this level is enough to continue powering parts of the country's energy needs, but not enough to construct a nuclear bomb.

UPDATE: A US official previously identified to CNN the model of the drone as a MQ-4C Triton, but US Central Command later said it was an RQ-4A Global Hawk.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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