Iranian Missile Shot Down Navy Drone

June 20, 2019 An Iranian missile shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it shot down the drone over Iranian airspace, while U.S. officials claim the incident occurred over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. — Iran Tensions

Tension continues to build between the U.S. and Iran governments over the crumbling nuclear deal with world powers. On Monday, the Pentagon announced plans to deploy about 1,000 additional American troops to the Middle East to address the growing threat posed by Iran. The announcement came just hours after Iran announced plans to break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

In April, the United States designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps  a foreign terrorist organization. The unprecedented move against a foreign government may prompt retaliation and make it harder for American diplomats and military officers to work with allies in the region.

Evidence of Iran Attacks

A U.S. assessment blamed Iran for Thursday’s attack on two Japanese oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Since then, evidence of aggression against foreign interests—including the United States continues to mount. The Pentagon on Sunday said Iran attempted to shoot down a U.S. Reaper drone flying over one of the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. U.S. military officials also linked Iran to a separate missile attack in Yemen earlier in June that hit another Reaper drone and forced it to crash.

STRAIT OF HORMUZ—Why it matters

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  last week, 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.

One year after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil, the United States began moving significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter Iran from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz. Since then, the Iranian government has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz several times but has yet to follow through.