President Trump is now saying that Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down a US drone, and when asked whether the US would respond by striking Iran, Trump said quote “you’ll soon find out.”
There is an ongoing debate over the exact location of the incident. Iran claims the drone was in Iranian airspace, flying over the country’s southern province. But US officials are claiming that the drone was actually over international airspace, in the Strait of Hormuz.
The US military’s Central Command confirmed that an unmanned US drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system. They said reports that the aircraft was in Iran’s airspace are false, and they called the incident “an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace.”
In response, the commander in chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said that the country still does not intend to go to war, but it hopes to send the message that it is “fully prepared for war.”
“Early this morning, the air defense system of the guard’s aerospace division bravely shot down an unmanned US spy aircraft which trespassed our borders and was violating our national security boundary,” said General Hossein Salami, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Commander in Chief.
While President Trump has repeatedly said that he also does not want to go to war, the additional deployments of troops to the Middle East to confront Iran, have increased concerns that the US is heading in a dangerous direction.
During a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, members of Congress questioned the US special envoy for Iran on whether the administration believes the president has the power to declare war.
But there are still concerns that the administration could attempt to declare war against Iran, without* approval from Congress, by using the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military force, which has been used to justify wars in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan, based on the claim that the US is fighting Al-Qaeda and its affiliate groups.
The committee’s chairman also raised concerns about the influence of National Security Adviser John Bolton, noting that he has been described as having quote “quite a track record of cherry-picking intelligence information that serves whatever case he’s going to make.”
“The Iraq War was not that long ago. I wasn’t in Congress when the Bush administration was making its claims about weapons of mass destruction, many of us weren’t here then but John Bolton was,” said Rep. Ted Deutch. “As Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, Bolton made misleading or false statements about biological weapons in Cuba, weapons in Syria and of course about Iraq’s development and stockpile of WMDs. Before entering the White House, he advocated for pre-emptive strikes against North Korea and Iran.”
Now it remains to be seen what steps the Trump administration will take next, but the latest incident shows that any further escalation could have dangerous consequences on a global level.