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Iran drone downing highlights limitations of US unmanned aircraft
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Iran says 'spy drone' violated airspace in May amid US escalation
Iran said on Sunday a 'spy drone' had encroached its airspace in May about a month before it downed an American drone as part of a series of escalatory incidents between Tehran and Washington. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a map saying the US-made MQ9 Reaper drone -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had entered his country's airspace on May 26. Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone on Thursday, saying it had violated its airspace near the strategic Strait of Hormuz -- a claim the United States denies.
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Iran says US blocking diplomacy with new sanctions
Iran said Tuesday new US sanctions against its leaders marked the end of diplomacy with Washington, after President Donald Trump threatened the country with 'obliteration'. Trump imposed new sanctions Monday against Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top military chiefs, further raising the stakes in an escalating regional standoff. The US Treasury said it would also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif -- a moderate figure and key architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal -- and eight top commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
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Iran denies US cyber attack ahead of new sanctions
Iran denied Monday it was hit by a US cyber attack as Washington was due to tighten sanctions on Tehran in a standoff sparked by the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal. Both nations say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including tanker attacks and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran in the Gulf, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict. The denial came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks on the tensions with Iran and was also due to visit the United Arab Emirates for similar discussions.
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Pompeo meets Saudi king for Iran crisis talks
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks Monday with Saudi leaders ahead of new sanctions on Tehran in a standoff sparked by Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal. Both the US and Iran say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiked after Tehran shot down an American drone and a series of attacks on tankers in sensitive Gulf waters raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict. Saudi and Emirati leaders advocate a tough US approach against common foe Iran, which on Monday said that any new American sanctions against it would have no 'impact'.
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Iran vows to ditch more nuclear curbs in war of words with US
Iran said Tuesday it will further free itself from the 2015 nuclear deal in defiance of new American sanctions as US President Donald Trump warned the Islamic republic of 'overwhelming' retaliation for any attacks. Tensions between Iran and the US have spiralled since last year when Trump withdrew the United States from the deal under which Tehran was to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. The two arch-rivals have been locked in an escalating war of words since Iran shot down a US surveillance drone in what it said was its own airspace, a claim the US vehemently denies.
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Iran and US trade barbs ahead of new sanctions
Iran and the United States, locked in a tense standoff after the US withdrew from a nuclear deal, traded barbs Sunday the day before the US tightens sanctions against the Islamic republic. Both sides say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including attacks on tankers and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran in the Gulf, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict. On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a US-made MQ9 Reaper 'spy drone' -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had encroached his country's airspace on May 26.
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Iran drone downing highlights limitations of US unmanned aircraft
US drones have been a key tool in conflicts against insurgent organizations such as the Taliban and the Islamic State group, but Iran's downing of one of the aircraft highlights their limitations against more sophisticated adversaries. While drones offer the significant attraction of not putting American lives at risk and can stay aloft for more than a day, allowing for extended surveillance missions, they can be vulnerable to air defenses, are often expensive, and their loss can lead to sensitive hardware falling into the wrong hands. 'I believe sophisticated air defenses will continue to have good chances to shoot down an aircraft like an RQ-4 whenever it is in position to do meaningful surveillance of their territories or other assets,' he said, referring to the type of drone brought down by Iran last week near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
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