first published on June 21, 2019 by Will
Iran and CENTCOM have both released videos of the US Navy RQ-4 drone shot down near the Strait of Hormuz on June 17, 2019, however the stories describing the incident vary greatly between the two nations.
According to Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, Commander, U.S. Air Forces
“A U.S. Navy RQ-4 was flying over the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz
on a surveillance mission in international airspace in the vicinity of
recent IRGC maritime attacks when it was shot down by an IRGC surface to air
missile fired from a location in the vicinity of Goruk, Iran.
This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset that had not
violated Iranian airspace at any time during its mission.
This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area
following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of
Iranian reports that this aircraft was shot down over Iran are categorically
The aircraft was over the Strait of Hormuz and fell into international
At the time of the intercept, the RQ-4 was operating at high-altitude
approximately 34 kilometers from the nearest point of land on the Iranian
This dangerous and escalatory attack was irresponsible and occurred in the
vicinity of established air corridors between Dubai, UAE, and Muscat Oman,
possibly endangering innocent civilians.”
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) June 21, 2019
According to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif:
“At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59’43″N 57°02’25″E) near Kouh-e Mobarak.
We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.”
President Trump reportedly green-lighted retaliatory strikes against IIRGC radar and missile sites, but stood down the operation minutes before the operations were to begin. Trump said:
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”
The Iran Revolutionary Guard shows off what it describes as debris from a U.S. drone which was shot down Thursday. Both countries have produced what they say is evidence supporting their diverging positions. https://t.co/LKIpOumrJ1 pic.twitter.com/uvPc6ss7hs
— POLITICO (@politico) June 21, 2019
Trump also suggested the IIRGC may have shot the aircraft down on accident, even as the Iranians continued to brag about the obviously intentional incident.
This is the second American drone Iran-affiliated forces have shot down in recent days, and their third attempt.