Trump says US shot down Iranian drone near Strait of Hormuz

Trump says US shot down Iranian drone near Strait of Hormuz

Trump said it's the latest "hostile" action by Iran.

In June the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that they had shot down a United States surveillance drone over the waters of Iran's Hormozgan province.

"The U.S. reserves the right to defend personnel, facilities, interests", he said. "The drone was immediately destroyed".

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that Iran and the USA were only "a few minutes away from a war" after Iran downed the American drone.

Tensions in the Gulf region are high, with fears that the United States and Iran could stumble into war.

Speaking at the White House, he said: "I want to apprise everyone of an incident in the Strait of Hormuz today involving USS Boxer, a navy amphibious assault ship".

No immediate response was issued by Iran. Trump said he called off a planned retaliatory air strike against Iran at the last minute due to humanitarian concerns.

On Thursday, the Boxer transited through the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway where one fifth of the world's oil passes.

"The United States strongly condemns the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy's continued harassment of vessels and interference with safe passage in and around the Strait of Hormuz", a State Department spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

Tensions between Iran and the USA have been rising for months.

Earlier in the day, the US condemned Iranian naval activity in the Persian Gulf and demanded the Islamic Republic release a small tanker and its crew that its forces seized this week.

Iran played down the seizure of the ship, which it said was a small vessel that was smuggling oil.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi said on July 17 that Tehran towed a vessel into an Iranian harbor after it suffered a technical malfunction.

The US military said the drone had been over global waters at the time, and condemned what it called an "unprovoked attack".

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