On Thursday a US warship, the USS Boxer, jammed an Iranian drone, which led to its downing, in international waters because it “closed within a threatening range,” according to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, further escalating tensions between the two countries.
US president Trump said this action is “the latest of many provocative and hostile actions against vessels operating in international waters,” and that the US shot down the drone after it was ” ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.”
Oddly enough, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has said, at least at this time that “We have no information about losing a drone today,” conflicting with the version of events by Trump that the drone approached dangerously close to the US ship. It is unclear if more details will emerge to back up one side of the story or the other.
Even though a Wall Street Journal reporter appeared to be on-board the Boxer when the drone was downed, they still cite the US military in their article when mentioning the drone.
Regardless of the validity, this news contributes to the rising tensions between Iran and the US, which some fear may lead to war between the two countries if diplomatic actions aren’t taken to avert the use of force. The trouble began when Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal last year, which has become a main talking point for why tensions are rising now, as Iran has begun to build up nuclear material because the US is not honoring their end of the deal. What’s more is that according to more leaked memos from former British ambassador Kim Darroch, Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was “an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons” because the agreement “was Obama’s deal.”
Negotiations surrounding a new deal with Iran seem to be aiming to accomplish what the previous deal had done, except with Trumps name on it instead. A former state department official has echoed a similar sentiment to what Darroch said in his memo, that if Trump could say the deal was his idea and not Obama’s, there wouldn’t be an issue. While both sides have said they want peace instead of war, there appears to be more efforts to escalate things on both sides than to de-escalate the situation.