Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has reportedly released a video showing the moment a US military drone in Hormuzgan province was downed, according to the Press TV state broadcaster.
The footage appeared shortly after commander-in-chief of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Major General Hossein Salami said that a US drone had been downed to send a “clear message” to Washington that the country is fully prepared to defend itself.
— Press TV (@PressTV) June 20, 2019
Earlier on Thursday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps announced they shot down the US drone over the waters of Iran’s Hormozgan province.
US Air Forces Central Command Cmdr. Joseph Guastella told reporters that the Iranian reports the drone was shot down over Iran are “categorically false.” Guastella said the drone was flying at a high altitude and about 34 kilometers from the nearest point of land on the Iranian coast and did not do anything to provoke the attack.
Later in the day, US President Donald Trump told reporters that he will soon make a decision on whether to strike Iran after it downed the drone.
The United States has in recent weeks stepped up its forces in the Middle East in what US National Security Adviser John Bolton has called a clear and unmistakable message to Iran. The new US deployments in the region include an aircraft carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.
Regional tensions escalated after a number of apparent attacks on oil tankers were reported not far from the world’s most strategic chokepoint off Iran’s coast. Washington accused Tehran of what looked like an attack on the vessels; Iran, for its part, denied any involvement.
Relations between Washington and Tehran have spiraled since May 2018 following Donald Trump’s decision to scrap the 2015 nuclear deal. The US administration has since adopted a “maximum pressure” policy aimed at making the Islamic Republic negotiate a ‘better’ deal.