WATCH: Will US Strike Iran, Trump Says “YOU’LL SOON FIND OUT”; Putin Warns, Iran Says “READY FOR WAR”

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President Donald Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error. Asked about a U.S. response, he said repeatedly, “You’ll find out.”

A few minutes earlier, a senior U.S. military officer said Iran shot down the huge, unmanned American aircraft over international waters in an attempt to disrupt U.S. efforts to monitor the Persian Gulf area where Trump has blamed Iran for attacking shipping vessels.

But Trump said he could not imagine the missile attack on the drone was intentional and he had a feeling “a general or somebody” mistakenly ordered the attack.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down the U.S. surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, marking the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million.

Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the U.S. called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!”

Trump later appeared to play down the incident, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he had a feeling that “a general or somebody” being “loose and stupid” made a mistake in shooting down the drone.

The incident immediately heightened the crisis already gripping the wider region, which is rooted in Trump withdrawing the U.S. a year ago from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran. Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be on pace to break one of the deal’s terms by next week while threatening to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if Europe doesn’t offer it a new deal.

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

The drone took off from the southern Persian Gulf and collected data from Iranian territory, including the southern port of Chahbahar near Iran’s border with Pakistan, the Guard said in comments that appeared aimed at showing it could track the aircraft.

The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

Iran used its air defense system known as Third of Khordad to shoot down the drone — a truck-based missile system that can fire up to 18 miles (30 kilometers) into the sky, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Typically, militaries worldwide call out to errant aircraft entering their airspace before firing. It’s unclear whether Iran gave any warning to the U.S. drone before opening fire. The U.S. military says Iran fired on and missed another drone last week near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all global oil moves.

The U.S. has been worried about international shipping through the strategic waterway since tankers were damaged in May and June in what Washington has blamed on limpet mines from Iran, although Tehran denies any involvement.. On Wednesday in the UAE, the U.S. Navy showed fragments of mines that it said bore “a striking resemblance” to those seen in Iran

The RQ-4 Global Hawk was at least 34 kilometers from Iranian territory when it was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of the U.S. Central Command.

He said it was an attempt to disrupt U.S. efforts to monitor the Persian Gulf region.

But Salami, speaking to a crowd in the western city of Sanandaj, described the American drone as “violating our national security border.”

“Borders are our red line,” the Revolutionary Guard general said. “Any enemy that violates the borders will be annihilated.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said the drone entered Iranian territory, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that it would take its case to the United Nations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged caution, warning any war between Iran and the U.S. would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to “all peace-loving countries” to support U.S. efforts to halt what he called escalating Iranian provocations.

“In the last 24 hours, Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States and against all of us,” he said, adding that “Israel stands by the United States and its military.”

America stations some RQ-4 Global Hawks at the Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, near the capital, Abu Dhabi. Associated Press journalists saw the drones on the base’s tarmac during a March 2016 visit by then-Vice President Joe Biden. The U.S. military occasionally publishes images from there of the drones, which have a distinguishable hump-shaped front and an engine atop.

Iran has claimed to have shot down U.S. drones before. In the most famous incident, in December 2011, Iran seized an RQ-170 Sentinel flown by the CIA to monitor Iranian nuclear sites after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. The Iranians later reverse-engineered the drone to create their own variants.

Elsewhere in the region on Thursday, Saudi Arabia said Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired a rocket at a desalination plant in al-Shuqaiq, a city in the kingdom’s Jizan province. The state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying it caused no damage or casualties. The Yemeni rebel Al-Masirah satellite news channel earlier said the Houthis targeted a power plant in Jizan, near the kingdom’s border with Yemen, with a cruise missile.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump had been “briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and other regional issues Wednesday and Thursday.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, has been battling the Houthis since March 2015 in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation now pushed to the brink of famine by the conflict. In recent weeks, the Houthis have launched a new campaign sending missiles and bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

(AP)




20 COMMENTS

  1. Trump and Bibi put us all at risk with their reckless policies. Trump tore up a functioning agreement with nothing to replace it. He has no plan B. He has no policy. He only has an over inflated ego and belief that he alone can get a better deal done. He has failed misreably. Trump’s ego has clouded his judgement on Russia, North Korea, China and Iran. We are in a dangetous place because of men like Bibi and Trump. War will not stop the Iranian threat. How quickly we forget the lessons of Iraq and Vietnam. America cannot remake countries at will.

  2. The Drone was shot down in “international” waters in the Gulf of Trumpkin….General Bonespur personally pointed on a map in the situation room showing the exact location of the drone when it was so cruelly shot out of the sky.

  3. Crazy crazykanoiy you’re not worth debating if you believe Obama liberal pacifist Chamberlain policies work… you don’t begin to understand the folly of that treaty that all but insured nuclear weapons to Iran i keep saying that you’re blind hate of trump has put you on the same side as the anti semitic left

  4. Iran right now is threatening the world and only President Trump can stop them he is the only one that Iran is frightened of, if they go to war with America it is only because of their egoistic stupidity, please realise that there is no other reason.

  5. Here we are with a draft dodger incompetent dumbbell in chief, itching to start a war. He lobs 50 tomahawk missiles into Syria to no effect and now he’s warmongering with Iran, who won’t hesitate to start firing missiles into Israel r”l if provoked, just like Saddam Hussein ys’v. Yeah cheer him on you lemmings, it’s not your lives or well being on the line.

  6. Gadolhadorah, is are a conspiracy theory fool who takes her queues from neo-nazi websites May be NYT antisemitic cartoon made an impression on her.

  7. Israeli intelligence is not pacificst liberal chamberlin etc. Israeli intelligence said the deal was working so did US intelligence.

    In any case Trump has no viable plan he is weak and confused. Just last week he said that the Iranian attack on tanker ships was “minor” and today he says that perhaps Iran shot down drones by “mistake”. A few nice letters to Trump from the mullahs in Iran will lead him to fall in love with the mullahs and he will then tweet that we can all sleep well because he solved the Iranian nuclear and his minions of loyal supporters will believe him.

  8. Uzi Arad, the former head of research at the Mossad and the head of Netanyahu’s own National Security Council from 2009 to 2011 is on record that the Obama deal was working.

    “Right now, the agreement, with all its faults, is working and is putting off realization of the Iranian nuclear vision by 10 to 15 years.” – Gadi Eizenkott

    “If Iran now continues to suspend its nuclear project for eight or 10 years, in accordance with the agreement, that will let us focus on more urgent threats relating to the Iranian army establishing a presence in Syria, and preparing the Israeli army for the possibility that, in the future, we’ll have to deal with the nuclear [issue] if a confrontation erupts.” – Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad

    In an interview Gilad said he believes a U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 agreement would help Iran more than Israel.

    “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” – Dan Coats

    Obama’s deal was working and is still working. Today Israel is safer because of the Iran deal. Hopefully a new US administration will be able to work with our European allies to fix the flaws in the deal and continue to ensure that Iran does not devolop nuclear weapons.

    Trump has been all bluster. He boasted that Iran will come back to the table and beg for a better deal but that has not happened. Until that happens Trumps dangerous gamble remains a dangerous gamble and nothing more.

  9. Trump is a very weak leader.

    When Iran attacks ships he dismmisses it as minor.

    Today he said thay he finds it “hard to believe – the shooting down of a US drone by the Iranian military – was intentional,” speculating that it “could have been somebody who was loose and stupid who did it.”

    Huh? Minor? Mistake? Loose and Stupid?

    He is a pathetic egoist who can’t admit to failure and lacks the stregnth to fix his mistakes.

    Trump is the real Chamberlin of our days. He is easily swayed by the likes of Putin anf Kim and he is unable to confront MBS and is clearly unable to deal with Iran effectively.

  10. Moshe In Golus – True conservatives engage in thoughtful reasoned debate. The Trump Hannity populist riff raff engage in name calling and insults. Try taking the road of true Conservatives.

  11. Crazykanoiy, are you by any chance working for Iran asking to give them 8 to 10 years that would be suicide for the world like your name you are crazy.
    Is that how much you hate President Trump that you are blinded by the hate and siding with the enemy (Iran).

  12. Trump said we will find out what his response will be. He sounded all tough and macho. Yet today we found out what his response was. Call off strikes and do nothing. Trump = No policy + confusion.

  13. I shill for Israel and America. I shill for democracy, freedom and true conservative values. I do not shill for frauds like Trump and his populist riff-raff.