On Thursday evening, planes were in the air and ships in position ready to strike at Iran’s radar and missile batteries when the United States President, Donald Trump, told the military officials to stand down.
It was not clear whether President Trump changed his mind or there was a change in strategy and logistics.
A senior administration official told New York Times that the military action was a retaliatory response against Iran. According to a senior administration officer, a US surveillance drone worth Sh13.2 billion was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile on Thursday morning.
The Iran government said that the American drone was shot at because it had strayed into the Iranian airspace. Iran’s ambassador to the US, Majid Ravanchi, said the drone had been warned multiple times through radio before it was downed.
“Tehran does not seek war but is determined to vigorously defend its land, sea and air,” Mr Ravanchi said in a letter to the Security Council.
However, President Trump disputed the fact that the unmanned American drone had strayed into Iran airspace.
” This drone was in international waters, clearly. We have it all documented. It’s documented scientifically, not just words,” Trump told reporters on Thursday.
GPS coordinates released by Iran indicated that the drone was eight miles away from Iran’s coast, which the country regards as its territorial waters.
The tension between the US and Iran started in May 2018 when Trump announced that he was pulling out of the 2015 nuclear pact. The agreement, which consisted of seven countries, restricted Iran’s nuclear ambitions and in return economic sanctions were removed by US.
Iran has warned that there will be serious consequences if Europe does not find a way to remove those sanctions.