United States downs Iran drone ‘to defend warship’

United States downs Iran drone ‘to defend warship’

British and US officials said one of the ships was the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, with 23 aboard.

The Stena Impero is British-flagged and the Mesdar is Liberian-flagged but British owned.

The vessel was surrounded by heavily-armed small craft and a helicopter and ordered to turn north.

"It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region", he added. Iran has threatened the UK regarding the seizure of an Iranian ship that was thought to be violating sanctions on Syria, and has been defiant in the face of sanctions on its oil at the hand of the United States.

"We can see that they managed to get pretty close to the warship, and they said that at no point was there any confrontation between the drone and the USS Boxer ...

We shot it down", Trump told reporters in the White House on Friday.

Iran said it would retaliate and days later three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz. Refinitiv data on its movements showed it had been en route to Jubail in Saudi Arabia.

The Government is "urgently" investigating reports that a British oil tanker has been seized by Iranian authorities in the Persian Gulf.

It was not immediately clear whether the tanker referred to in the report is the same as a UAE-based tanker that went missing in waters near Iran late Saturday.

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Were there British citizens on board the ship captured by Iran? .

Western powers also blamed Iran for two mine attacks on oil tankers in the region last month - something it denies.

Iran denied any attempted seizure.

Sir Richard Dalton, former United Kingdom ambassador to Iran, told the BBC that Iran was "trying to put a scare into the owners and operators of tankers" in the region.

"Unlike Trump's delusional and groundless claim", said Shekarchi, "all drones belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by the USA president, have returned to their bases safe and sound after carrying out their scheduled surveillance and control operations".

That incident saw Mr Trump call off a retaliatory strike at the last minute because he said too many people would have died.

Further protection must be provided for merchant vessels, the head of the UK Chamber of Shipping said.

After the alleged footage was released by Iran, President Trump told reporters he was confident U.S. forces had "shot down" the drone.

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