Friday, 23 August, 2019

Iran claims it shot American drone, U.S. military doesn't comment

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Patty Aguilar | 20 June, 2019, 09:26

The reported shootdown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over the collapsing nuclear deal.

Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the June 13 suspected attacks, as well as in a similar attack on May 12 off the coast of the UAE.

Iran stepped up its production in response to tightening economic sanctions from the USA, who left the landmark nuclear deal a year ago.

However, a spokesperson for the U.S. military's Central Command, Navy Captain Bill Urban, said "no USA aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace today".

Concerns about a military confrontation between Iran and the U.S. have mounted since attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on May 12, both near the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies.

Tensions between the two nations reached boiling point following attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf.

The US military has not confirmed or denied the reports.

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'There will be no war (between Iran and the US) since there is no reason for a war, ' said rear admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook heading to the Middle East for meetings in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain to discuss "Iran's regional aggression", the State Department said.

President Donald Trump made a decision to withdraw from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.

Earlier, Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis said they had struck a power station in Al-Shuqaiq city, in the Saudi province of Jizan, with a cruise missile, according to the group's Al Masirah TV.

Fears of war surged after the Pentagon announced on Monday the United States was deploying 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East amid tensions with Iran.

Tensions were further fuelled on Monday when Iran said its stockpile of low-enriched uranium would next week exceed limits it agreed with worldwide powers in 2015. Mysterious attacks also have targeted oil tankers as Iranian-allied Houthi rebels launched bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis since March 2015 in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest nation now pushed to the brink of starvation by the conflict.

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