Iran's move to shoot down US spy drone flying over country's airbase was aimed at sending a "clear message" to Washington, said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief Major General Hossein Salami on Thursday.
"The downing of the American drone was a clear message to America," said Salami, adding that Tehran was not seeking war with any country, but remains fully prepared to defend itself against any aggression, reported Sputnik.
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone was shot down on Thursday by the IRGC after it entered the Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district. There has been no immediate confirmation from the Pentagon about the incident, although, a spokesman for US Central Command has insisted "there was no drone over Iranian territory."
The development comes at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington owing to a recent attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Although it remains unclear who was responsible for the attacks, the US has put the blame on Iran, which, in turn, has denied the allegations.
To back its claim, the US released a blurry video which, the country believed, showed the boat crew of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers shortly after the attack.
The US stance was echoed by Saudi Arabia and Britain. Russia, on the other hand, came to Iran's support and warned against "hasty conclusions" over the incident.
Furthermore, Washington recently announced the deployment of about 1000 additional troops to the Middle East for "defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats" in the region following the attack on the oil tankers.
US military is increasing its presence in the Middle East. Recently, country's Secretary of State Michael Pompeo confirmed the approval of USD 8.1 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates amid hostilities with Iran. In addition, carrier strike warships and B-52 bombers were also recently deployed off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
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