A USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday after the aircraft threatened the ship by flying to within 1,000 yards of it, U.S. President Donald Trump said. He called on other countries to condemn Iran and protect their own ships.
However, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi denied on Friday that Iran had lost a drone in the Strait of Hormuz. "We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] by mistake!," Araqchi said on Twitter, referring to a U.S. warship in the strategic waterway.
Earlier Thursday, Iran said its Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign oil tanker and its crew of 12 for smuggling fuel out of the country, and hours later released video showing the vessel to be a United Arab Emirates-based ship that had vanished in Iranian waters over the weekend.
The announcement heightened worries about the free flow of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most critical petroleum shipping routes. One-fifth of global crude exports pass through the strait.
>> Read more: U.S.-Iran tensions: What key players around Trump are pushing for ■ A threat foreign and domestic: U.S.-Iran war drums risk dividing Trump's base ■ Strait of Hormuz: What happens if the world's key oil artery gets blocked?
The incident happened with tensions running high between Iran and the United States over President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Last month, Iran downed a U.S. drone and escalation between the sides had raised concerns the two countries might go to war. The U.S. has been deploying military assets, such as the Boxer, to the region.