President Donald Trump on Thursday said that a U.S. Navy ship “destroyed” an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz — the latest in a series of tense incidents between Washington and Tehran.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that the USS Boxer — a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship — “took defensive action” against the Iranian drone that had “closed into a very, very near distance, approximately 1,000 yards” and ignored “multiple calls to stand down.”
The drone was “threatening safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” and “was immediately destroyed,” he said.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions against vessels operating in international waters,” the president said, adding that the United States “reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, our interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. “
“I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the strait and to work with us in the future,” Trump added.
The downing of the drone was just the latest incident to be reported near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway off Iran’s coast which separates the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. A third of the world’s seaborne oil shipments and 20 percent of oil traded worldwide pass out of the Persian Gulf through the strait.
Earlier this month, several Iranian boats attempted to stop a British commercial vessel sailing through the strait, but the vessels were driven away by a British military ship, a senior U.S. defense official and a British government spokesperson said.
And last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it shot down a U.S. surveillance drone. Iranian officials claimed they shot down the unmanned aircraft after it entered Iranian airspace, but the U.S. has disputed that and said the drone was in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz.