Tehran has slammed US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook’s remarks in Saudi Arabia over the recent downing of an intruding American spy drone, saying the Islamic Republic “responds to diplomacy with diplomacy and war with firm defense.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday during a visit to Riyadh, Hook said Tehran had no right to respond to “diplomacy” with “military force,” a day after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps shot down a high-tech RQ-4 Global Hawk drone over its territorial waters.
Iran sharply condemned the violation of its airspace by the drone, emphasizing that its aerial and territorial borders constitute a red line.
Responding to the hawkish US official, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi took to Twitter and asked, “Mr. Hook, do you call years of war and economic terrorism imposed on Iranian people and violation of treaties and resolutions as “diplomacy”?”
“The Iranian nation responds to diplomacy with diplomacy, respect with respect and war with firm defense.”
Tensions between Iran and the US have been on the rise since May last year, when the White House under Trump abruptly exited a hard-won multilateral nuclear deal with Iran and reinstated its unilateral sanctions against Tehran in defiance of international calls and warnings for Washington not to undermine the accord — which was widely hailed as a fruit of successful international diplomacy.
Hook is in a commanding position over the Trump administration’s highly belligerent Iran policy and promotes the White House’s sanctions campaign against the Islamic Republic, which has been criticized by the entire world community, including Washington’s own allies.
The tensions have specially soared after the US moved to toughen the sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector in late April and announced plans shortly afterwards to deploy military reinforcements to the Middle East, citing alleged and unspecified Iranian “threats.”
Iran’s downing of the American drone came days after UN sources said the US was planning to carry out a “tactical assault” on an Iranian nuclear facility in response to attacks earlier this month on oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, which the US has blamed on Iran, without providing any credible evidence.
The New York Times reported on Friday that President Donald Trump had approved military strikes against Iran for downing an intruding American spy aircraft, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night.
Trump initially issued a series of cataclysmic threats, insisting that the Global Hawk was flying over international waters when it was taken down by an Iranian missile.
However, the GPS coordinates released by Iran put the drone eight miles off the country’s coast, inside the 12 nautical miles from the shore, which is Iran’s territorial waters.