Middle East

Iran shares footage, coordinates of downed US drone

Iranian military shot down surveillance aircraft, saying it violated its airspace

Ahmet Dursun   | 21.06.2019
Iran shares footage, coordinates of downed US drone

ANKARA

Iran’s military released a video Thursday of the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

The footage, which was shared on social media, shows the moment a target was struck by a missile fired from an air defense battery.

It is said the target was a U.S.-made RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced early Thursday that it had downed the drone.

Iran and the U.S. dispute the drone’s location when it was downed. Tehran maintains the drone violated its airspace while Washington says it was in international airspace.

Later in day, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also shared the coordinates of where the drone was shot down and announced that the wreckage fell into Iran’s territorial waters.

“At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59'43"N 57°02'25"E) near Kouh-e Mobarak,” Zarif said on his Twitter account.

“We've retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down,” he added.

US-Iran tensions

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said earlier Thursday that a surveillance aircraft "was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz".

The RQ-4A Global Hawk, a high-altitude unmanned aircraft, is used for reconnaissance purposes by the Navy.

Following the incident, U.S. President Donald Trump said on his Twitter account that "Iran made a very big mistake".

The statement comes amid growing hostility in the Persian Gulf between Washington and Tehran.

Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year, when Washington unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union.

The U.S. has since embarked on a diplomatic and economic campaign to ramp up pressure on Iran to force it to renegotiate the agreement.

Part of its campaign has included the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on exports of Iranian crude oil, which has sent the Iranian economy into a nosedive.

The U.S. has also increased its military presence in the Middle East, deploying a carrier strike force, bomber task force and Patriot missile battery and using threats from Iran as justification for the actions.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced it would be sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East, citing increased threats from Iran.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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