On July 18, United States President Donald Trump told reporters at a press conference that a US Navy ship “destroyed” an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz. This comes just a month after a US drone was taken down in a nearby area, after allegedly flying within Iranian airspace.
At a White House press conference, Trump said that one of the Navy’s amphibious assault ships, the USS Boxer “took defensive action” against a drone that had “closed into a very, very near distance, approximately 1,000 yards” and ignored “multiple calls to stand down.” The drone reportedly belonged to the government of Iran.
According to Trump, the aircraft was “threatening safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” and “was immediately destroyed.”
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions against vessels operating in international waters,” the president said.
Trump then added that the United States government “reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, our interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. “
“I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the strait and to work with us in the future,” Trump added.
A similar scenario played out last month, but the roles were reversed.
This incident comes at a time where tensions are already growing between the United States and Iran. Also last month, an oil tanker was attacked in the Gulf and the incident was blamed on Iran, although there has been no evidence to verify these claims.
Things were already on shaky ground between the United States and Iran, since Donald Trump formally backed out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the former nuclear deal between the two nations. Trump has also classified Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a terrorist group, which has further inflamed tensions between the two governments.
It is expected that this new designation will allow the United States government to impose further sanctions on Iran, and US allies are more likely to follow suit if the sanctions are related to alleged terrorism.
Trump promised as much, saying that the designation would allow the US government to “significantly expand the scope and scale” of pressure on Iran.
So far, Iran has not responded to the recent attack, and retaliation is not expected.