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Tehran suggests US downed its own drone ‘by mistake’ in Strait of Hormuz

Hamad I Mohammed, REUTERS file picture | A helicopter hovers over Iranian Revolutionary Guards speed boats seen near the USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 as it makes its way to gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi denied on Friday having lost any drone recently and hinted that the US could have downed their own "by mistake."

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"We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!" Araghchi tweeted, after the United States claimed it downed an unmanned Iranian aircraft.

US President Donald Trump said Thursday an American naval vessel downed an Iranian drone that threatened the ship as it was entering the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Trump announced that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, "took defensive action" against the Iranian aircraft as it was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew."

The drone was "immediately destroyed" after it approached within 1,000 yards (914 meters) of the Boxer, Trump said.

Tehran's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told reporters Thursday he had "no information about losing a drone today," as he arrived at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

"All drones belonging to Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz [...] returned safely to their bases after their mission of identification and control," said senior armed forces spokesman Abolfazl Shekarchi in a report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said in a statement they would release images to disprove Trump's contention that the U.S. Navy had destroyed a drone.

The apparent confrontation between the two foes comes after Tehran last month shot down an American surveillance drone it said was flying in its airspace, a claim denied by the United States.

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(AFP, REUTERS)

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