Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United States 'destroyed' Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

United States 'destroyed' Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

Fox News strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) on Iran seizing oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz and mounting USA tensions with Iran. It was seized near Larak Island in the Persian Gulf.

Iran's state TV English-language channel has released video of a ship seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces accused of smuggling fuel out of the country.

Tensions have been high in the Gulf since the U.S. tightened the sanctions that it reimposed on Iran's oil sector after unilaterally withdrawing from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal. It also has never been part of foreign military task forces, preferring to work under the United Nations flag instead, the first official said. "We continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region".

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The announcement came after Tehran said it had come to the aid of a foreign tanker after receiving a distress call, but made no mention of the vessel being seized.

President Donald Trump said Thursday at the White House that it was an Iranian drone that threatened the ship.

"We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else", Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi tweeted.

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The IRGC Navy's patrol vessels confiscated the foreign tanker that was carrying one million liters of smuggled fuel in a surprise operation after making sure that the ship was smuggling fuel, it added.

The US military said the drone had been over worldwide waters at the time, and condemned what it called an "unprovoked attack".

About a third of the world's ship-borne oil comes through the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The United States has sent thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, and advanced fighter jets into the Middle East amid the heightened tensions.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post characterized the having shot down the drone. One small vessel launched what appeared to be a commercial-grade drone to film the US ships. The UAE has stopped short of blaming any country for the attacks off its coast of Fujairah and maintains that diplomacy is the way forward.

The ship's registered owner, Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, told The Associated Press it had sold the vessel to another company, Mouj Al-Bahar.

A U.S. official told the Associated Press that Washington had "suspicions" Iran seized the vessel.

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