Michael Staines
Michael Staines

21.15 18 Jul 2019


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A US warship has destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

President Trump announced the action while hosting the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at an event in the White House this evening.

He said the USS Boxer took “defensive action” against the drone after it came within 1,000 yards (915 metres) of the ship.

He said it ignored “multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.”

“The drone was immediately destroyed,” he said.

“This is the latest of many hostile and provocative actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters.

“The US reserves the right to defend out personnel, our facilities and interests.”

Iranian drone US President Donald Trump during a presentation ceremony of an American flag that was flown from the stern of a United States Navy vessel during the D-Day invasion, 18-07-2019. Image: Olivier Douliery/ABACAPRESS.COM

Tensions between the US and Iran have been increasing ever since President Trump came to power.

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping lane for oil and gas; however, it has become a flash point between the two nations following President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-introduce crippling economic sanctions on the country.

Last month, Iran shot down a US drone it claimed was flying in its airspace – prompting President Trump to threaten a retaliatory air strike.

He later claimed he called off the strike at the last minute in a bid to save lives.

A number of unclaimed attacks on oil tankers have also fuelled fears of a potential armed conflict.

Iranian drone US President Donald Trump welcomes Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to the White House, 18-07-2019. Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

President Trump said the US was calling on all nations to “condemn Iran’s attempt to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”

“I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait and to work with us in the future,” he said.

Iran has recently increased uranium production and enrichment above levels permitted by the 2015 nuclear deal – which remains in place despite the lack of US involvement.

Tehran has threatened up enrichment levels every 60 days unless signatories to the pact worked to put an end to crippling US sanctions on the country.

The Middle East country says its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes – but there are concerns that increasing its capacity could lead to the production of nuclear weapons.

The US has sent thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets into the region.

Main image shows the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship in San Diego Bay, California, 01-05-2019. Image: US Navy via AP

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