The Pentagon announced, on Thursday, July 18, that it has downed an Iranian unmanned drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz.
In a written statement, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman explained, “At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”
In a brief statement, posted on Twitter, President Trump also characterized U.S. action as “defensive,” indicating that the Iranian drone had flown within 1,000 yards of the U.S. vessel, thereby posing a threat on the ship and its crew.
Thursday’s incident occurred just one month, to the day, after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claimed to have shot down a U.S. drone over the strait, escalating tensions between the two countries and nearly drawing a military response in retaliation from President Trump.
Instead of responding militarily, however, Trump opted to increase economic sanctions against Iran, a move the administration had been considering weeks in advance. The sanctions, which deny Iran’s leadership access to financial assets in the United states and block further use of the U.S. financial system, are said to be worth “billions of dollars” worth of assets.
The United States has been seeking to engage in talks with Iran over its nuclear defense programs, missile programs, and military activities in the region. It is not yet clear what effect the increased economic sanctions and military skirmishes, like the one that occurred on Thursday, will have on Iran’s willingness to come to the negotiating table.