Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has applauded the Islamic Republic’s defence capability, while commenting on the downing of a US surveillance drone by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in June.
“First, we hit an American drone, second, we found it on Iranian radar, third we hit it with our own missile. Iran only shoots aggressors which can be drones, aircraft, marine vessels,” Rouhani told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday.
Last month, he warned that if another American drone crossed the borders of the Islamic Republic, it would also be downed.
Rouhani was echoed by Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran’s Civil Defence Organisation, who pointed out that the downing of the US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) indicated Tehran’s determination to defend its borders.
“Iran’s deterrence power, especially in the military field, foiled their intimidation plots and games as destruction of an expensive spy drone by an indigenised [Iranian-made] weapon showed that Iran's military can overcome the enemy. Iran does not joke with anyone on defending itself,” Jalali said on Wednesday, in an apparent nod to the US.
On 20 June, the IRGC said that that it had brought down a US Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone flying over the coastal Hormozgan Province because it violated the country's airspace. The US Central Command claimed that the UAV was hit while operating over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
IRGC Commander-in-Chief, Major General Hossein Salami, described the downing of the drone as a “clear message” to Washington and said Tehran would “react strongly” to any aggression. Ali Larijani, speaker of Iran's parliament warned that the US military will get an even stronger response if it dares to violate Iran's borders.
The incident further exacerbated already strained US-Iranian ties which have been tense since 8 May, 2018, when Washington unilaterally left the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying that it would reinstate harsh economic sanctions against Tehran. A year later, the Islamic Republic signalled that it is suspending some of its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA.