07:21 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh looks at debris from what the division describes as the U.S. drone which was shot down on Thursday, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 21, 2019

    IRGC Commander Says US Bases and Aircraft Carrier Within Range of Iranian Missiles - Reports

    © AP Photo / Meghdad Madadi
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    Tensions between Iran and the US skyrocketed after an Iranian missile shot down a US drone. President Trump confirmed Friday that he planned to "respond" to the shoot-down on Thursday night with a large-scale attack against targets in Iran, but backtracked at the last moment, saying such strikes would not be "proportionate."

    Iran's missiles are within range of US targets, including regional bases and the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, and Washington is aware of this, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh has said.

    "US forces in the region were a threat, but they are now an opportunity...They (the US) do not talk about war with Iran, because they know how susceptible they are," Hajizadeh said in an address on Iranian television, according to Reuters.

    Earlier, appearing at a press conference alongside what appeared to be the remains of a US drone which Iran said was shot down after failing to reply to two airspace violation warnings, Hajizadeh said that a US spy plane with dozens of servicemen on board was also flying nearby, but was spared, with the military deeming that destroying the drone served as enough of a "warning to the American terrorist forces." The US Central Command is yet to comment on the commander's claims.

    On Friday, in a series of tweets and an interview with NBC News, US President Donald Trump confirmed earlier media reports that he had decided against a large military response to the destruction of the US drone, saying Pentagon plans to strike three locations across Iran, which may have killed up to 150 Iranians, were "not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone." Trump said he made the decision at the last minute.

    Tehran and Washington have conflicting stories regarding where the stealthy $130 million Northrop Global Hawk surveillance drone was when it was shot down early Thursday morning, with Iran saying it was destroyed in Iranian airspace, while the Pentagon alleges that it was shot down over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.

    Countries around the world including Russia and China and also several of Washington's major European allies have called for a cooling of tensions between the US and Iran this week, with the drone incident preceded by a series of sabotage attacks against tankers in the Gulf starting last month which the US pinned on Tehran. Iranian officials flatly denied involvement in the attacks, and accused the US and its regional allies of exacerbating tensions in a bid to justify Washington's "economic war" against the Islamic Republic.

    China warned the US against opening a "pandora's box" of unintended and unpredictable consequences amid US plans to deploy more troops to the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has suggested that US military action against Iran would be "a catastrophe" for the region and the world as a whole.

    The US deployed a carrier group, fighters, bombers, anti-aircraft missile systems, thousands of troops and at least one amphibious assault ship into the Middle East in early May after accusing Iran of posing an 'imminent' threat to US interests in the region.

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