February 18, 2020

Iran Shoots Down U.S. Drone

FILE PHOTO: An undated U.S. Air Force handout photo of a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned (drone) aircraft. U.S. Air Force/Bobbi Zapka/Handout/Files via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Iran downed a United States military drone on Thursday, adding fuel to the fire of escalating tensions between the two countries.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has claimed that they shot down the unarmed RQ-4A Global Hawk drone in Iranian airspace, while the U.S. is claiming that the drone was shot down in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, an important waterway for oil trade.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that “Iran made a very bad mistake,” but added that he thought it was “hard to believe it was intentional. It could have been someone who was loose and stupid who did it.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif tweeted that the “drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace.” Zarif then wrote that Iran “retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.”

The White House will be meeting with congressional leaders from both parties later in the day to brief them on the situation with Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his support for the U.S. in a statement.

In the last 24 hours, Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States and against all of us,” Netanyahu said. “I repeat my call for all peace-loving countries to stand by the United States in its effort to stop Iranians’ aggression. Israel stands by the United States on this.”

According to the Times of Israel, senior Israeli defense officials believe that Iran’s recent belligerence stems from them thinking that Trump is averse to military conflict, and that the U.S. needs a strong military to deter Iran’s behavior.