U.S. Destroyed Iranian Drone in Strait of Hormuz, Trump Says; Tehran Denies

According to the president, USS Boxer shot down aircraft after it flew within 1,000 yards of it ■ American forces may have 'shot down their own' drone, Iran claims

The Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry conducting  a replenishment-at-sea evolution withsupport ship USNS Arctic in the Arabian Sea, July 14, 2019.
Curtis D. SPENCER / Navy Office of Information / AFP

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.

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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.