Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. drone on Thursday amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over the collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, American and Iranian officials said, though they disputed the circumstances of the incident.
The Guard said it shot down the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone over Iranian airspace, while the U.S. said the downing happened over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. The different accounts could not be immediately reconciled. Later, the U.S. military's Central Command released a statement calling the downing an "unprovoked attack."Previously, the U.S. military alleged that Iran had fired a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blames Iran for the attack on the ships; Tehran denies it was involved. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that "Iran made a very big mistake" in shooting down the drone.
The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from Tehran's nuclear deal a year ago. Iran and its proxies have been pushing back against the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign, raising fears that a miscalculation could trigger armed conflict. Iran has been blamed by the U.S. for recent attacks on other nations' shipping vessels, but the downing of the huge drone was the first direct Iranian assault against the United States
With files from the Associated Press
With guest host Kyle Stokes
Aaron David Miller, vice president for New Initiatives at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based non-partisan policy forum that tackles global issues through independent research; former advisor to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State on Middle East policies; he tweets @aarondmiller2