Iran says it’s ‘ready for war’ after US drone shot down
Iran (ABC NEWS) —— Rocket attacks Wednesday on American and Turkish oil facilities in southern Iraq, which may have been carried out by Iranian-backed militias, are the latest example of how Iraq finds itself squarely in the middle of increasing tensions between its two closest partners, the United States and Iran.
In a major provocation, Iran shot down an unarmed and unmanned U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk drone while it was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, U.S. Central Command confirmed in a statement.
The incident is sure to trigger serious discussions within the Trump administration about how to respond to a direct attack on a U.S. military asset that goes beyond recent attacks in the Middle East that the U.S. has blamed on Iran.
“Shooting down the American spy drone had a clear, decisive, firm and accurate message,” he said, translated from Farsi. “The message is that the guardians of the borders of Islamic Iran will decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land. The only solution for the enemies is to respect the territorial integrity and national interests of Iran.”
“We do not intend to engage in war with any country, but we are completely ready for the war. Today’s incident is a clear sign of this accurate message,” Salami added.
“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” said CENTCOM spokesperson Navy Capt. Bill Urban in a statement on Thursday morning.
“This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”
Urban said the RQ-4A Global Hawk, which “provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions,” was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19.
The incident is not the first time in recent days that Iran has targeted an American drone off its coast.
Last Thursday, Iran attempted to shoot downan MQ-9 Reaper that was surveilling the attack on one of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The United States has blamed Iran for being responsible for the attacks on the two tankers — a claim Iran has denied.
“According to our assessment, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9, at 6:45 a.m. local time, June 13, over the Gulf of Oman, to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous,” CENTCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement to ABC News on Saturday.
“Subsequent analysis indicates that this was a likely attempt to shoot down or otherwise disrupt the MQ-9 surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous,” Brown mnksaid.
In early May, the Pentagon rushed the aircraftcarrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a B-52 bomber task force to the Middle East to deter possible attacks by Iran or Iranian-backed groups on U.S. forces and U.S. interests in the region.
ABC News’ Elizabeth McLaughlin, Luis Martinez and Somaye Malekian contributed to these reports.
President Donald Trump released a one sentence response via twitter simply saying,