02:25 GMT +322 September 2019
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    Pentagon Releases Video of What It Claims to Be US Drone Downing by Iran

    © AFP 2019 / MASSOUD HOSSAINI
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    The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reported on 20 June that the Iranian military had shot down a US drone in the southern part of the country after it violated Iranian airspace.

    The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has released a video allegedly showing smoke lingering from a US Navy drone that was brought down reportedly by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system over the Strait of Hormuz on 19 June. The US Central Command claimed the drone was operating in international airspace when it was shot down.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has commented on the matter, saying that Tehran intends to prove that the United States is lying by claiming that its drone was downed by the Iranian army in international airspace.

    In turn, US President Donald Trump said in a statement earlier in the day that Iran has made a very big mistake by shooting down a US Navy drone, stressing that he would soon decide how Washington will respond to the downing of its drone.

    ​The incident followed recent alleged attacks on at least six oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region. The United States has put the blame on Iran, though Tehran has strongly denied the allegations. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said that the timing of the latest tanker incident is "beyond suspicious" because it coincided with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Islamic Republic.

    Meanwhile, the US decided to deploy an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East complemented with a Patriot missiles battalion and fighter aircraft, according to the US Department of Defence, saying that the US is "ready to defend US forces and interests in the region".

    Prior to those attacks, Trump began stepping up the US' military presence in the Middle East in response to intelligence reports that Iran was allegedly planning attacks on US interests and allies in the region.

    Relations between the US and Iran have become increasingly hostile since last year, when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and began re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

    Related:

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    US Forces Confirm Iranian Missile Shot Down Navy Drone - CENTCOM
    Tags:
    drone, US Central Command (CENTCOM), Iran, United States
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