Iran Tried to Shoot Down US Drone at Scene of Tanker Attacks

Iran Tried to Shoot Down US Drone at Scene of Tanker Attacks
An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flies by during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2015. (Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

Iran attempted to shoot down an American drone arriving on the scene of two fuel tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, according to a Fox News report citing a senior U.S. official.

Iran fired a missile targeting an American MQ9 drone shortly after it arrived in response to a distress signal from the Front Altair tanker, which was damaged in an attack that Washington blames on Tehran. The missile missed.

The unnamed official told Fox News that the tanker sent out the distress signal at 6:12 a.m. local time and the unmanned drone arrived eight minutes later.

The attempted missile attack transpired 25 minutes after the drone arrived. Fox News cited a military source to report that the missile was a modified SA-7 fired from mainland Iran.

According to another anonymous Fox News source, Iran-backed Houthi rebels shot down an American MQ9 Reaper drone in recent days.

News of the attempted attack on the U.S. drone piles onto mounting tensions in the region. Washington blamed Iran for attacking the oil tankers and released a video which it says shows Iranian military removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers in an alleged attempt to cover up Tehran’s involvement.

Fox News previously reported that Iranian gunboats surrounded a rescue vessel carrying the crew of one of the tankers and forced the surrender of the crew.

The United States also blamed Iran for attacks on four tankers roughly a month prior to the Gulf of Oman attacks.

“This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a news conference shortly after the tanker attacks.

Iran threatened to cut the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz on April 22, shortly after the United States imposed the strictest sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports intending to cripple the Islamic regime’s oil sector.

Three weeks later, on May 12, Iran attacked four oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, according to the White House. Washington also blames Tehran for drone strikes on two oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia on May 14.

On June 12, the day before the latest tanker attacks, an Iran proxy group fired a ballistic missile at a Saudi civilian airport, injuring 26 people.

“Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Pompeo said.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the multinational Iran nuclear deal last year and reimposed tough sanctions on the Islamic regime in Tehran.

Washington demands that Iran permanently extinguishes its nuclear weapons program, stop the development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, terminate its support of radical Islamic terror groups and put an end to its malign activities in the Middle East. Pompeo announced the demands in his first major speech as Secretary of State in May last year.

Both Washington and Tehran have said they are not seeking to start another war in the Middle East.

From The Epoch Times

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