US President Donald Trump said Thursday that a US Navy ship had destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel.
According to Trump, the USS Boxer downed the Iranian drone that came within 1,000 yards of the Navy ship and ignored “multiple calls to stand down.”
Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” in the Strait of Hormuz and was “immediately destroyed.”
The drone was destroyed using electronic jamming, a US defense official told CNN.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump added. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interest and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”
The Pentagon released a statement about the drone downing shortly after Trump’s comments.
“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. A fixed-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew,” Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman wrote.
Iran denied Trump’s claims. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the United Nations Thursday that “we have no information about losing a drone.”
The deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, tweeted: “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”
Earlier Thursday, Iranian media confirmed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had seized an oil tanker on Sunday, which it accused of smuggling over 1 million liters of oil, near Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah disappeared off trackers in Iranian territorial waters days ago.