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Iran Releases Video Claiming to Show U.S. Did Not Shoot Its Drone Down

Newsweek logo Newsweek 7/19/2019 Tom O'Connor
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The Iranian military has released footage purporting to prove that its drone was not shot down by a U.S. warship as claimed by President Donald Trump.

In a statement, Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday that the video showed an unmanned aerial device commanded by their aerospace division as it monitored the movements Thursday of U.S. warships, including the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer that was said to have destroyed the drone that same day, and five other ships sailing in through the Strait of Hormuz. 

The statement said that the drone had conducted surveillance for up to three hours and "observed no unusual or threatening actions by the terrorist U.S. forces." As a result, the Revolutionary Guards said that Trump's claims were "proven false and unsubstantiated."

Trump first revealed Thursday that Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer "took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew." The president said that "the drone was immediately destroyed" and urged international support against Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Earlier Friday, the Revolutionary Guards denied losing any unmanned aerial system in a separate statement and Iranian ambassador to the United Nations Abbas Araqchi quipped about the alleged incident on Twitter.

"We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,"  Araqchi tweeted. "I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!"

The development was the latest in a tit-for-tat war of information surrounding incidents in the strategic waters near the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil chokepoint, since Trump's pullout last year from a 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. has blamed Iran for two attacks May and last month on international oil vessels in the nearby Gulf of Oman and for allegedly harassing a U.K. vessel earlier this month.

Iran has denied these allegations, but has threatened to retaliate in response to the U.K.'s seizure of an Iranian supertanker accused of attempting to transport oil to Syria via Gibraltar and has seized a much smaller UAE-based vessel accused of smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf.

The Revolutionary Guards also shot down a U.S. Navy drone last month in a move that nearly triggered U.S. military action, though Trump suspended a decision to strike back at the last minute. 

a close up of a map: A screenshot from a video released July 19 by Iran's Revolutionary Guards purports to show an Iranian drone tracking U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf region. The video was released in an effort to disprove U.S. claims that the USS boxer shot down an Iranian drone the day before. © Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps A screenshot from a video released July 19 by Iran's Revolutionary Guards purports to show an Iranian drone tracking U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf region. The video was released in an effort to disprove U.S. claims that the USS boxer shot down an Iranian drone the day before.

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