Zarif said Thursday that Iran had retrieved “sections” of the US military drone shot down earlier that day. According to the foreign minister, the remains of the drone – which originated in the UAE – were retrieved in Iranian territorial waters.
“At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59’43″N 57°02’25″E) near Kouh-e Mobarak,” the foreign minister tweeted.
The tweet was accompanied by images showing the route of the drone and the point where it was taken down by an Iranian air defense missile.
On Thursday, Iran downed a US Global Hawk surveillance drone, which US President Trump claimed was unarmed. The Iranian Foreign Ministry noted that the drone had violated the nation’s airspace. According to the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Hossein Salami, the drone was shot down to send a “clear message” to Washington that the country is prepared to defend itself.
US Air Forces Central Command Cmdr. Joseph Guastella claimed the drone was flying about 34 kilometers from the nearest point of Iranian land and that the attack was unprovoked. According to international law, territorial waters are a zone of 12 nautical miles (just over 22 kilometers) from the shoreline.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been on the rise since May 2018, after US President Donald Trump unilaterally scrapped the 2015 nuclear deal, which curbed Iran’s nuclear program; instead of adopting a “maximum pressure” policy aimed at forcing the Islamic republic into negotiating a ‘better’ deal. Recently, Washington dispatched large military forces (including an aircraft strike group) to the region citing an undisclosed Iranian threat.
Reacting to heightening tensions, Iran last month stopped curbing its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water and vowed to continue suspending its commitments under the 2015 accord if the remaining signatories fail to shield it from reimposed US sanctions.