19:18 GMT +306 December 2019
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    Iranian soldiers prepare to launch a Hawk surface-to-air missile during military maneuvers at an undisclosed location

    Iranian Minister Says Country's Military Power Prevented US From Attacking - Reports

    © AFP 2019 / ISNA/AMIN KHOROSHAHI
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    Earlier, Iran downed a US military surveillance drone flying over Hormozgan Province after it violated the country's airspace. US Central Command insists that the UAV was shot down while operating over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.

    Iranian intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi said that fears of Iran's military power prevented the US from attacking Iran last month, according to IRNA news agency.

    "Americans were scared of Iran's military power, that is the reason behind their decision to abort the decision to attack Iran," Mahmoud Alavi said.

    He added that if the US lifted sanctions and Supreme Leader Khamenei permitted it, Tehran and Washington could talk.

    "Holding talks with America can be reviewed by Iran only If (U.S. President Donald) Trump lifts the sanctions and our supreme leaders gives permission to hold such talks," Mahmoud Alavi stressed.

    Tensions between Iran and the US have intensified since Tehran downed an American drone.

    Iranian air defences shot down the American drone, which was flying above the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran stated that the drone had violated its airspace and failed to respond to multiple warning, later presenting maps, showing the drone's flight path. Tehran also noted that at the same time its forces detected a P-8 Poseidon spy plane, which also violated the country's airspace, but chose not to shoot it down to avoid casualties.

    In turn, the US said that the drone was flying over neutral waters.

    Relations between the two states turned for the worse after Washington withdrew from Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions against Tehran's energy, banking and shipping sectors. 

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    attack, drone, United States, Iran
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