June 21, 2019 U.S. President Trump confirmed the military was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran for shooting down a Navy drone on Thursday, but called off the operation.
Trump said he made the decision after learning 150 people would likely die from the strike, the response would have been “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said it shot down a Navy drone over Iranian airspace Thursday morning, while U.S. Central Command said in a statement the incident occurred over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz.
CENTCOM spokesperson, Navy Captain Bill Urban on Thursday called the incident an “unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.” Iran says the United States is lying and plans to take the case to the United Nations.
U.S. — Iran Tensions
Tension continues to build between the U.S. and Iran governments over the crumbling nuclear deal with world powers. Last week, U.S. officials blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran continues to deny the accusations.
In May, President Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, restoring American sanctions that have pushed Iran’s economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the nuclear deal.
World leaders from Germany, U.K. and the United Nations continue to call for calm in the region. European Council President Donald Tusk said the bloc is urging restraint on both sides, and rejected suggestions the EU should speak more loudly in the dispute. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. against using force on Iran, saying it would have catastrophic consequences.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps
In April, the United States designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. Global security experts warned that the unprecedented move against a foreign government could prompt retaliation and make it harder for American diplomats and military officers to work with allies in the region.
STRAIT OF HORMUZ—Why it matters
CNBC News reported that global concern over a military confrontation between the United States and Iran in part caused a nearly 5 % increase in oil prices on Thursday.
Last week, President Trump addressed growing global concerns that Iran might make good on threats to close off the Strait of Hormuz—a move that could cripple some countries economy. Trump downplayed the threat to Fox News, saying if it happens “it’s not going to be closed for long.”
The Strait of Hormuz separates Iran to the north and the Musandam Governorate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and the world’s most strategically important maritime choke point and a main artery for the transport of oil from the Middle East. Approximately 22.5 million barrels of oil a day passed through the Strait of Hormuz as of 2018, according to Vortexa, an energy analytics firm. That’s roughly 24% of daily global oil production, and nearly 30% of oil moving over the world’s oceans.
SEE ALSO: Iranian Missile Shoots Down Navy Drone