The head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards says the downing of a US drone over its territory was a “clear message” to Washington, proving Tehran will react strongly to any military aggression.
Just hours earlier, Iran claimed to have shot down a US RQ-4 spy drone over Hormozgan Province. Images of the suspected hit were later posted online, showing a burning device falling from the sky.
“The downing of the American drone was a clear message to America,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief, Hossein Salami, told local media. He added that any intrusion across Iran’s borders would be seen as a “red line” and would be met with strong resistance.
Iran is not seeking war with any country, but we are fully prepared to defend Iran.
Salami’s comments were reiterated by Iran’s Foreign Ministry which said that any “violations of Iran’s borders” would be responded to.
We warn of the consequences of such illegal and provocative measures.
Tehran said later that the drone had taken off from a US airbase in the region and had its tracking equipment turned off during the flight, contravening aviation laws.
Washington has yet to officially respond to the incident. However, unnamed US Navy sources told Reuters that the maritime version of the Global Hawk – the MQ-4C Triton – had been shot down over international waters.
It is the latest incident adding to heightening tensions between the US and Iran in recent months. Earlier, Washington blamed Iran for attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
However, these claims somehow contradict a statement by the company operating one of the ill-fated tankers. The ‘Kokuka Courageous’ owner – one of the vessels hit in the assault – said its sailors had seen “flying objects” in the sky before they were attacked.