Iran releases video claiming to be of missile strike on US drone as Trump administration begins 'measured response'

Tensions rise as Iran claims to have shot down unmanned US drone 

Chris Riotta
New York
,Clark Mindock
Thursday 20 June 2019 18:23
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Iran military releases footage of 'missile strike on US drone'

Iran has released a video it claims shows a missile striking an unmanned US drone.

The video comes as tensions between the US and Iran have been strained, with Donald Trump saying that taking out the American drone was a "big mistake" in a tweet on Thursday.

In the video, credited to Iran Military Tube, a surface to air missile can be seen launching and leaving behind a cloud of dust, and then exploding after hitting a target in the nighttime sky.

The video then cuts to a map of the region, with the American drone's flight path before an animation shows the aircraft exploding.

The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the US Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner that costs over $100m (£78.7m).

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

The president 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 Mr Trump withdrawing the US 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 7 July if Europe doesn’t offer it a new deal.

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the US has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there.

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All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the US and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

Additional reporting by AP

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