Araqchi Ridicules Trump’s Claim on Downing Iranian Drone
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi mocked President Donald Trump’s claim that a US warship has shot down an Iranian drone, saying he is “worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”
“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” Araqchi said in a post on his Twitter account on Friday.
“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) by mistake!” he added in his tweet.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Tehran “has no information about losing a drone today,” but he blamed Washington for pushing “itself and the rest of the world into probably the brink of an abyss.”
Trump said the USS Boxer destroyed the drone after the aircraft threatened the ship by flying to within 1,000 meters of it and ignored multiple calls to stand down.
Later, the Pentagon said in a statement that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, had taken “defensive action” against a drone, but did not mention whether the aircraft was Iranian.
The chief Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said in a written statement: “A fixed-wing unmanned aerial system approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”
The statement also omitted any reference to how the drone was brought down, but CNN reported it was done by electronic jamming, rather than gunfire.
The remarks came against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the US after the Islamic Republic shot down an advanced US spy drone over its territorial waters.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on June 20 that a US spy drone that violated the Iranian territorial airspace in the early hours of the day was shot down by the IRGC Aerospace Force’s air defense unit near the Kooh-e-Mobarak region in the southern province of Hormozgan.
The intruding drone was reportedly shot by Iran’s homegrown air defense missile system “Khordad-3rd”.
Later on the same day, US President Donald Trump said he had called off a retaliatory attack on a number of targets in Iran and said that he was ready to speak with Iranian leaders and come to an understanding that would allow the country to improve its economic prospects. “What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me.”
“I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We're not looking to hurt Iran,” Trump added.
However, on June 24 Trump announced new sanctions against top Iranian officials, including the office of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s foreign minister, and senior commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).