Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, threatened to shoot down more American drones on Wednesday.
Rouhani said American drones violating Iranian airspace “will receive the same response” as the American drone that was shot down in June. The United States has stated that the drone that was shot down was not in Iranian airspace.
There has been a dispute over whether the U.S. shot down Iranian drones last week; Marine Corps Gen Kenneth McKenzie told CBS News, ” “As always it was a complex tactical picture, we believe two drones. We believe two drones were successfully — there may have been more that we are not aware of — those are the two that we engaged successfully … We are confident we brought down one drone – we may have brought down a second,” while Iran’s defense minister, Gen. Amir Hatami said Wednesday “if someone claims he should provide evidence,” adding “none of our drones have been intercepted.”
Tensions have risen again between Iran and the West after a British-flagged tanker named the Stena Impero was intercepted by Iranian ships and brought to Bandar Abbas. On Wednesday, Rouhani had a message for the new British prime minister, Boris Johnson, saying that if Great Britain releases the Iranian tanker it seized off Gibraltar then Iran will give “a positive response,” adding, “We do not seek the continuation of tension with some European countries. Should they be committed to international frameworks and give up their wrong actions, including what they did in Gibraltar, they will receive a proportional response from Iran.”
But as The Daily Mail added, “However, it is unlikely the UK will take such action without assurances from Tehran that the tanker will not head to Syria in violation of EU sanctions – which the regime has so far been unwilling to give.”
In mid-July, Great Britain offered to return Grace 1, which it seized off the coast of Gibraltar because it suspected it was headed for Syria, provided Iran promised that the oil the tanker carried would not go to Syria. Only days before that offer, Great Britain had claimed three Iranian vessels attempted to intercept a British oil tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but a British warship had driven the Iranian ships away, as The New York Times reported. The Times added, “Iran’s tensions with Britain had increased the possibility that it might join the Trump administration in restoring its own sanctions against Iran, a move that could effectively kill any hope of reviving the nuclear deal.”
To make matters even more sinister, on Monday, the National Interest reported that Russia is jamming the Air Force’s F-35s and F-22s near Iran: “Russian forces have been jamming GPS systems in the Middle East. The electronic-warfare campaign could affect U.S. forces gathering in the region in advance of potential strikes on Iran.” Breaking Defense reported, “Moscow is trying to interfere with both Western airplanes — including cutting-edge stealthy F-22s and F-35s — and improvised terrorist drones.” Breaking Defense added, “Intriguingly, ground-based GPS systems are unaffected. That makes the jamming of aviation GPS suspiciously specific — another sign that it’s not a simple glitch but some kind of electronic weapon.”