President Donald Trump has warned that Iran will pay a hefty price if it provokes US forces.
"We hope for their sake they don't do anything foolish. If they do, they will pay a price like nobody's ever paid a price", Trump said.
The US president further said that he is not afraid of clashing with Iran, justifying his position by saying that Washington has "the greatest, the most deadly ships" at its disposal. Trump also noted that he hopes that the US won't have to use them.
At the same time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while speaking at a summit in Buenos Aires on19 July, called on Iran to "come to the table" for negotiations to resolve the ongoing tensions in relations between the two countries. He went on to say that President Trump is ready for a meeting with Iranian authorities without preconditions.
Previously, Trump announced that the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship, which was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, had downed an Iranian drone that approached within 1,000 yards of the vessel and didn't respond to warnings. He added that Washington is confident of downing it, although Iran has denied losing any drone recently.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps released a video on 19 July from a drone that had been observing the USS Boxer's movements as proof that the drone wasn't downed and had returned to its base safely.
Tensions between Iran and the US intensified following the downing of an American drone by Iranian air defences. Tehran said that the drone had violated its borders, but Washington claims it was flying above neutral waters.
The US was preparing a retaliatory attack, but it was abruptly called off minutes prior to start by Trump. Instead, Washington slapped Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and those close to him with economic sanctions.