President Donald Trump revealed Thursday that the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft ignored multiple calls to stand down.
According to the President, the USS Boxer - an amphibious assault ship - "immediately destroyed" the drone belonging to Iran after it became a threat to the ship and crew. The president said Thursday that he was calling on "other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait."
"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very, very near distance -- approximately 1,000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew," Trump told reporters at the White House.
The news comes after Iran's Revolutionary Guard announced Thursday they had seized a foreign oil tanker after accusing the 12 crew members of smuggling oil. The ship was reportedly seized by Iran in Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman. The vessel had reportedly issued a distress call on Sunday before Iran seized the tanker. According to Iranian State TV, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces ambushed the tanker and discovered it was transporting gasoline from Iran on small boats to a larger tanker anchored outside the country's territorial waters.
The destruction of Iran's drone and the country's seizure of the oil tanker comes amid heightened tensions in the area between the two countries after Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal.
A statement from the State Department "strongly" condemned the "Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy's continued harassment of vessels and interference with safe passage in and around the Strait of Hormuz."
"Iran must cease this illicit activity and release the reportedly seized crew and vessel immediately. We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners to ensure the Iranian regime’s extortion tactics and malign activities do not further disrupt maritime security and global commerce," the spokesperson said.
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