- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2019

The White House said Friday there is “no question” the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian drone over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz, despite Tehran’s denials.

“We shot it down,” Mr. Trump said.

National Security Adviser John Bolton reaffirmed the president’s account from the Oval Office, saying the obliterated aircraft posed a threat.

Mr. Trump announced the operation Thursday, saying the drone was “immediately destroyed” in a defensive action after Iranians ignored “multiple” orders from the USS Boxer to stand down.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, claimed their forces didn’t lose any aircraft.

“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” he said on Twitter. “I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] by mistake!”

The incident comes several weeks after Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. Navy surveillance drone over the same shipping channel off the coast of Iran.

The president withdrew from the international nuclear deal that President Obama entered with Iran and then reapplied sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign.

As Mr. Trump seeks new negotiations, Democrats and others worry increased tension will cause both sides to slip into a war.

The president said he’s not worried about a potential clash.

“No, not at all. We have the greatest people in the world, we have the greatest equipment in the world. We have the greatest ships — the most deadly ships,” he said. “We don’t want to have to use them, but they’re the most deadly ships ever conceived. And we hope for their sake they don’t do anything foolish. If they do, they will pay a price like nobody’s ever paid a price.”

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