Iran Says Its Revolutionary Guard Shot Down a U.S. Drone

By allison.quinn@thedailybeast.com (Allison Quinn) Anna.Kaplan@thedailybeast.com (Anna Kaplan)
Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen/File Photo/Reuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has claimed it shot down a U.S. drone, according to the country’s state-run IRNA news agency.

The news comes amid mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran and fears of a confrontation in the region.

According to IRNA, the drone, identified by the Revolutionary Guard as a RQ-4 Global Hawk, was struck after entering Iranian airspace in Hormozgan province.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command appeared to dispute Tehran's claim, however, telling the Associated Press: “There was no drone over Iranian territory.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had been “briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” according to the Associated Press.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies,” she was quoted as saying.

Trump Tells His Team to Tone Down the Tough Talk on Iran

The incident comes as tensions are already at a boiling point following a bitter exchange of accusations last week, when President Trump accused Iran of waging an attack on two fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Tehran has denied involvement in the attack. The U.S. military also accused Iran of targeting a drone that responded to the attack at the time.

Relations between Tehran and Washington took a nosedive since Trump pulled the U.S. out of a landmark nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on the country, but many have recently begun to fear the deteriorating ties could lead to a military clash.

While Trump and his administration have said they do not want to take military action, the president ordered an additional 2,500 troops to the Middle East in recent weeks to counter what U.S. officials have described as a growing threat from Iran.

In what some lawmakers see as a sign the Trump administration is trying to make a case for military action, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials are said to have begun briefing Congress on ties between Iran and al Qaeda going back to after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, The New York Times reports.

These briefings have led a set of bipartisan members of Congress to question if the Trump administration is attempting to invoke the 2001 war authorization passed by Congress to take action against Iran under the guise of battling terrorism. The authorization allows the United States to go to war with al Qaeda and its allies without a vote from Congress.

Gulf Tanker Whodunit: Trump’s a Liar. So Are the Mullahs.

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