Despite several denials by Iran, US President Donald Trump has said that there is no doubt that the US warship had destroyed an Iranian drone on Wednesday.
President Trump said, “No doubt about it. We shot it down”.
Pentagon chief spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said on Thursday, “The incident took place at approximately 10 am a local time when the amphibious ship, USS Boxer, was in the international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the strait”.
President Trump said, “USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship of the US Navy, destroyed the drone that threatened the US warship by flying within 1,000 yards of it and ignored multiple warning” while speaking at the White House.
Trump further said, “The US reserved the right to defend its personnel, facilities and interests, calling upon all nations to condemn what he said was Iran’s attempts to “disrupt” freedom of navigation and global commerce.
“I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the strait and to work with us in the future,” he added.
According to US defence officials, the Iranian drone was brought down by counter-drone jamming equipment, which was operated by US marines aboard the USS Boxer.
National security adviser John Bolton said, “there is no question this was an Iranian drone and USS Boxer took it out.”
Iran armed forces said that all Iranian drones in the Persian Gulf returned safely to their bases, an Iranian news agency reported on Friday
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later at the UN headquarters had also said, “We have no information about losing a drone today”.
The incident came as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that it had seized a foreign ship “smuggling fuel” in the Gulf on Thursday, days after reports of a British tanker being harassed in the region.
Tensions spiked last month when Iran shot down a US drone over sensitive Gulf waters following a series of oil tanker attacks that Washington blamed on Tehran, which the latter denied.