After Iran’s Revolutionary Guard took responsibility on Thursday for the shootdown of an American drone, claiming the drone had been brought down over the southern coast of its Hormozgan Province, the United States fired back saying the drone was flying in international waters over the Strait of Hormuz.
As USA Today reports, Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, stated, “U.S. Central Command can confirm that a U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance ISR aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace. Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false.”
ABC News reported that after a top Iranian commander threatened that Iran was “ready for war,” President Trump minced no words responding to the attack on the drone, which was hit by a surface to air missile:
Meanwhile, Revolutionary Guard Commander Major General Hossein Salami blustered, “The downing of the U.S. drone had an explicit, decisive and clear message that defenders of the Islamic Iran’s borders will show decisive and knockout reactions to aggression against this territory. Borders are our red line, and any enemy violating these borders will not go back.”
The drone itself was an RQ-4 Global Hawk, over 47 feet long with a wingspan of over 131 feet.
Fox News noted, “The downing of the drone, via surface-to-air missile, is only the most recent Iranian provocation in the region, coming on the heels of a disputed attack on a pair of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. U.S. officials say Iran was behind the tanker attacks, however, the Islamic Republic has not claimed responsibility and even suggested American involvement in the plot.”
Prior to the shootdown of the drone, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) told Fox News’ Bret Baier, “My red line is if there is any more disruption of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz linked to Iran, take out their navy, bomb their refineries; if there’s any more attack on American interest, go after the Iranians so they’ll pay pain; they’ll feel pain.”
Col. Steve Ganyard, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs under President George W. Bush, told ABC News’ Robin Roberts, “A country’s sovereign airspace goes out to 12 nautical miles. If this U.S. drone was outside that 12 nautical miles it had every legal right to be there, and the Iranian shootdown was completely illegal. So it’s a very tense situation and the U.S. is going to have to respond in some way.”
Asked by Roberts if it were possible that the drone could have wandered into Iranian airspace, Ganyard replied, “It’s possible; it’s possible, Robin. The U.S. Navy and U.S. military forces are going to have to confirm that this drone didn’t inadvertently stray into Iranian airspace or over Iranian territory. If we have that confirmation, then we know what the Iranians did was illegal.” When he was asked what happens next, he answered, “I think the Iranians are putting on a brave face right now, saying, ‘We’re ready for war.’ They’re completely overmatched by U.S. military might and so the question is: Did they make a mistake and inadvertently shoot this drone down, or did they do it deliberately in an attempt to goad the U.S. into a military response?”