Iran claims to have shot down US spy drone

Tehran [Iran]: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has shot down a US spy drone flying over Iranian airspace in the southern province of Hormuzgan, state media reported on Thursday.

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone was shot down by the IRGC after it entered the Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district, according to a report by Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

There has been no confirmation yet about the development from Washington, however, a spokesman for US Central Command has insisted “there was no drone over Iranian territory,” reports New York Post.

The development comes at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington owing to a recent attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Although it remains unclear who was responsible for the attacks, the US has put the blame on Iran, which, in turn, has denied the allegations.

To back its claim, the US released a blurry video which, the country believed, showed the boat crew of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers shortly after the attack.

The US stance was echoed by Saudi Arabia and Britain. Russia, on the other hand, came to Iran’s support and warned against “hasty conclusions” over the incident.

Furthermore, Washington recently announced the deployment of about 1000 additional troops to the Middle East for “defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the region following the attack on the oil tankers.

US military is increasing its presence in the Middle East. Recently, country’s Secretary of State Michael Pompeo confirmed the approval of USD 8.1 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates amid hostilities with Iran. In addition, carrier strike warships and B-52 bombers were also recently deployed off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.