The military coalition proposed by Trump does not take place despite the succession of incidents around the Strait of Hormuz
Iran: U.S. shot down its own drone by mistake
Iran has denied Friday that it has lost any drone, denying the announcement made yesterday by US President Donald Trump that he had shot down one of these Iranian aircraft. The spokesman of the Armed Forces, the general Abdolfazl Shekarchi, has assured that all the unmanned airplanes that left in mission returned to their base. And Abbas Araghchi, deputy foreign minister and nuclear negotiator, has even allowed himself to be ironical about whether the Americans would have knocked down one of their own drones.
“In spite of Trump’s delusional and baseless allegations, all the unmanned aircraft [sent] to the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by the US president, have returned without problems to their base,” he said. General Shekarchi, quoted by the news agency Tasnim (next to the Revolutionary Guard, whose naval forces are in charge of the surveillance of the Iranian maritime borders).
President Trump said on Thursday night that an Iranian drone had approached less than a thousand meters from the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship and had ignored “multiple appeals for his withdrawal.”
For its part, Araghchi, the number two foreign, has turned to Twitter to reiterate that Iran “has not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz or anywhere else.” He has even allowed himself to be ironical about the matter. “I am concerned that the USS Boxer has shot one of its own drones by mistake,” he added. His tone refers to the verbal war being waged by Iranian and American leaders since last April Washington decided to deepen the policy of maximum pressure against Tehran inaugurated a year earlier with its exit from the nuclear agreement.
Iranian officials appear to be following a double strategy in their response to the US. On the one hand, they maintain a position of defiance through their statements, the dosed transgressions of the nuclear pact and the activities of the Revolutionary Guards (yesterday it announced with great fanfare the arrest of an oil tanker accused of smuggling fuel) and the transgressions of the nuclear pact. On the other, aware of the serious risk posed by the challenge, they try diplomatic channels.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated yesterday at the UN headquarters in New York that his country is willing to accept more comprehensive inspections of its nuclear program if the US withdraws its economic sanctions. Earlier, it even dropped that it would limit its missile program if Washington stopped selling those weapons to its Gulf Arab neighbors. Both conditions seem unlikely with the current tenant of the White House.
Meanwhile, there is alarm about the succession of small incidents in waters that circulate a fifth of the oil that is consumed in the world. The US plan to form a military coalition to protect shipping is encountering resistance, a Pentagon source told Reuters. India has already made it clear that the two warships that it sent last June to protect its ships as a result of the sabotage of several oil tankers, will extend their mission, but they will not join the coalition.
Although 75% of the oil that leaves the Gulf is destined for Asian countries, these, like the Europeans, believe that increasing the military presence in these already highly congested waters can only increase the risk of incidents. Iraq, a country that exports 96% of its crude through Ormuz, is studying how it can diversify its exit routes, although no solution is immediate. Reuters reported on Wednesday that some shipping companies were hiring unarmed security guards for the Persian Gulf crossings as an extra measure of protection.