Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shoots down US ‘spy’ drone: Report

The Guard said it downed a Global Hawk surveillance drone but the US denied it [AP]

Elite force says it shot down American surveillance drone over its territory, but US military refutes the report.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard said Thursday it shot down a US “spy drone” over its territory, Iranian state television reported. “The US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down” in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan, the Revolutionary Guard was quoted as saying by the English-language Press TV. State television did not provide pictures of the drone.

The US military denied the report. “There was no drone over Iranian territory,” Captain Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, told The Associated Press. The report incident comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since last year, when President Donald Trump pulled out of a historic 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.

Rising tensions

Fears of conflict have risen after two oil tankers came under attack a week ago near the Strait of Hormuz – a major oil shipping route where one-fifth of the world’s oil passes from the Middle East to world markets. The US and its regional allies – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – have accused Iran of being behind the series of blasts in the Gulf.

Tehran has denied involvement and instead suggested Washington could be responsible, using it to justify force against Iran. On Wednesday, the US Navy said recovered fragments from one of two tanker ships bore a “striking resemblance” to mines seen during Iranian military parades. Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the June explosions, as well as similar blasts on May 12 off the coast of the United Arab Emirates that targeted four oil-carrying vessels.

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook headed to the Middle East for meetings in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain to discuss “Iran’s regional aggression”, the State Department said. “He will also share additional US intelligence on the range of active threats Iran currently poses to the region,” the department said in a statement.

Source: Al Jazeera