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Trump threatens Tehran, as US drone is shot down by Iran

Trump has threatened Iran [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 June, 2019

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Donald Trump has responded to the downing of a US drone, which it says was in international airspace.

US President Donald Trump has threatened Tehran after an American drone was shot down in the Gulf region by Iran, with a dispute raging over whether the incident took place in Iranian or international airspace.

Trump took to Twitter on Thursday after the RQ-4A Global Hawk was shot down by Tehran's elite Revolutionary Guards, saying: "Iran made a very big mistake!"

The cursory threat follows weeks of tensions between the two countries, with a spate of attacks on mercantile shipping in Gulf waters blamed on Tehran with the US sending military reinforcements to the region.

US Central Command confirmed on Thursday morning that it lost the drone but insisted it was flying through international airspace, not inside Iran, as claimed by Tehran.

"We did not have any aircraft in Iranian airspace today," Captain William Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, said on Thursday.

The Pentagon also denied reports from Iran that the drone entered Iranian airspace and confirmed the US Global Hawk was shot down by a surface-to-air missile during a high-altitude mission.

"Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," it said.

"This was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace."

Meetings at the White House and with US security chiefs are expected to take place today, which Trump is not expected to attend. Senator Lindsey Graham did tell the president that the Washington cannot be "bullied" into negotiations with Iran.

Tehran has continued to ramp up the rhetoric, saying its military response was correct and said it was not afraid of war with the US.

The downing sent "a clear, decisive, firm and accurate message" to Washington, General Hossein Salami, commander of the Iranian Guards said on Thursday, adding that Tehran would "decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land".

"[Iran] does not have any intention for war with any country but we are ready for war," he warned.

France President Emmanuel Macron sent his top diplomatic adviser to Iran this week to try and defuse tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that US force against Iran would be "a disaster", while China has also warned Washington against a rise in tensions.

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