President Donald Trump said Thursday the public will “find out” what the U.S. response will be to Iran’s downing of an American drone.
“Iran made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly,” Trump said in the Oval Office while meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The U.S. and Iran dispute the aircraft’s location when it was downed earlier Thursday. Tehran maintains the drone violated its airspace while Washington says it was in international airspace.
“This is a new wrinkle, a new fly in the ointment what happened, shooting down a drone,” Trump said. “And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”
Congressional leaders have reportedly been invited to a Situation Room briefing on Iran.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said earlier Thursday a surveillance aircraft “was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.”
The attack took place at around 3 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.
The surveillance aircraft was a RQ-4A Global Hawk, a high-altitude unmanned aircraft used for reconnaissance purposes by the Navy.
“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” CENTCOM spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”
The statement comes amid growing hostility in the Persian Gulf between Washington and Tehran.
Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year, when Washington unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU.
The U.S. has since embarked upon a diplomatic and economic campaign to ramp up pressure on Iran to force it to renegotiate the agreement, and other behavior not covered by the original pact that the administration views as destabilizing behavior.
Part of its campaign has included the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on exports of Iranian crude oil, which has sent the Iranian economy into a nosedive.
The U.S. has also increased its military presence in the Middle East, deploying a carrier strike force, bomber task force, and Patriot missile battery and using threats from Iran as justification for the actions.
On Monday, the Trump administration announced it would be sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East, citing increased threats from Iran.