United States warship destroys Iranian drone, says Trump

President Donald Trump on Thursday said an American warship, the USS Boxer, took defensive action after an Iranian drone came within 1,000 yards of the warship and ignored multiple calls to stand down.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard claimed Friday to have seized a British-based oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz; escalating tensions with the U.S. and United Kingdom just one day after the American military destroyed an Iranian drone operating in the region.

In this latest episode to stir tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Trump said at the White House event that the Iranian drone flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, and ignored "multiple calls to stand down".

It comes amid a period of heightened tension between the two countries, which included Iran last month shooting down a USA drone it said was flying over the country.

According to Stena Bulk, there were 23 seafarers aboard the vessel when it was captured.

Tensions around Iran started to escalate after two oil tankers caught fire following an alleged attack in the Gulf of Oman on June 13. "And this only goes to show what I am saying about Iran".

The IRGC said the tanker was taken to a coastal area and turned over to the authorities to take the necessary legal steps, Reuters reported, citing Iranian state television.

The incident almost resulted in retaliatory strikes Trump says he called off because he said it would have been a disproportionate response.

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United Kingdom warships have also been shadowing British oil tankers in the area since Iran threatened to seize one in response to the impounding of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar earlier this month.

That came after British forces helped seize an Iranian supertanker off Gibraltar, a British territory at the southern tip of Spain.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized an Iranian vessel earlier this month, further raising tensions along a vital worldwide oil shipping route.

Just a few weeks ago, a USA drone was shot down in an area over the Strait of Hormuz after Iranians claimed it entered their air space. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.

Iranian Armed Forces are "legally" duty-bound to protect the security of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with vigilance and in accordance to the global regulations, Shekarchi added.

The tanker is thought to be the United Arab Emirates-based MT Riah, missing since the weekend in the Strait of Hormuz.

NBC News reported: "Pressure in the region has been building since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement and imposed punishing sanctions on the country".

  • Michelle Webb