Iran Shoots Down a U.S. Drone. The Question Is: Where?

June 20, 2019

By Carlo Versano

Iran and the U.S. agree: the Iranians shot down an unmanned American surveillance drone on Thursday. The question the two countries disagree on is where it happened.

Iran says the drone, an RQ-4A Global Hawk manufactured by Northrop Grumman ($NOC), had entered Iranian airspace when it was shot down with a surface-to-air missile. U.S. Central Command disputed that claim, instead saying the drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway that has become ground zero for rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Shayna Estulin, Washington correspondent for Cheddar's sister network, i24News, said it was unusual for Iran to take credit for an attack on an American interest so swiftly. Typically, the country uses proxies in its provocations with the U.S., she said.

The incident has torqued the already escalating war of words between the two nations. The U.S. and its allies have accused Iran's Revolutionary Guard of sabotaging several oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in recent weeks. Iran has denied those attacks, though intelligence agencies say visual evidence points to its military's role.

This week, President Trump deployed an additional 1,000 American troops to the region amid those escalations.

On Wednesday, Trump attempted to downplay the tanker attacks, calling them "very minor." He later told Fox News that things were "under control."

"Don't worry about a thing," the president said.

White House officials were holding a meeting Thursday morning to discuss a response to the drone incident, CNN reported.

The leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami issued a strongly worded statement on Thursday immediately after reports of the drone being shot down surfaced:

“We declare that we do not want war with any country, but we are completely and totally ready and prepared for war,” he said, according to Iranian state television.