The price of oil spiked on Thursday just hours after a US spy drone violating Iranian airspace was shot down by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) close to the Strait of Hormuz.
Crude oil was trading up by 2.8% to $55.29 shortly after the incident was reported early on Thursday, while Brent was up by 2.3% to $63.26.
The IRGC Aerospace Force shot down a hostile “American spying drone” over Iranian airspace at dawn on Thursday. The US Global Hawk drone was brought down near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in the Central district of Jask in Hormozgan Province after the aircraft violated Iran’s airspace.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather.
US officials confirmed the report that one of its drones was shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missile, but said the aircraft was a US Navy MQ-4C Triton high-altitude drone. Both types of aircraft are among highly advanced US-made unmanned planes, but the MQ series is reportedly the state-of-the-art and the best and most equipped drone ever made by the US.
The IRGC Aerospace Force said in a statement that it used the Iran-made short-range and mid-altitude ‘Third of Khordad’ missile defense shield to bring down the US spy drone over the country’s Southern coasts.
Commander of the IRGC Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.
The incident sent “a clear message” to the US and other enemies that Iran will show a firm and crushing response to any aggression, Salami stated.
“Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and national interests,” the major general noted.
The Iranian foreign ministry strongly deplored violation of the country’s airspace by the US spy drone, warning of consequences of any aggression.
“We strongly protest at such aggressive and provocative measures and firmly warn against any illegal and aggressive flight of any hostile foreign flying objects over the country’s sky and violation of its airspace,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi stated on Thursday.
He warned that the aggressors should account for the consequences of such moves.
The drone downing came just a week after two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. While it remains unclear what happened to the ships, the United States claimed that Iran had carried out the attacks on the two vessels, but cited no evidence, although it release some footage that it called reliable intel. Iran has stated that Washington’s claim that Tehran carried out the attack is unsurprising, warning that the US has resorted to “Plan B” to sabotage the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic efforts.View image on Twitter
It also came at a time of growing tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The Pentagon has recently approved the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East. The Pentagon will also send Patriot missile systems, drones and surveillance planes in the Middle East.
The United States has also been escalating its military presence in the Persian Gulf, recently sending an aircraft carrier group, a squadron of B-52 bombers and additional Patriot air defense systems as a “message” to Iran.
Without Congress approval, the US administration has recently approved $8.1 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in a bid to “deter Iranian aggression”.
In early April, the US administration decided to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, while critics called it stupid and dangerous. In a tit-for-tat measure, Tehran labeled the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle-East as a terrorist entity.
Iran has stressed that it will not be the initiator of any war, but reserves the right to self defense and will give a crushing response to any act of aggression by the United States.
Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has taken a progressively bellicose posture toward Iran. A year and a half into his term, he unilaterally withdrew Washington from an international nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and imposed sanctions against Tehran. He then began pressuring the other cosignatories, including European states, to also abandon the deal.