US Navy shoots down Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

UK says rightly concerned about protecting goods in Strait of Hormuz

Heritage sails in the Bosphorus on its way to the Black Sea in IstanbulMore

President Trump said the drone was "immediately destroyed" when USS Boxer took defensive action.

He said the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship "took defensive action" on Thursday after the drone came within about 1,000 yards (914m) of the vessel.

Just a few weeks ago, a USA drone was shot down in an area over the Strait of Hormuz after Iranians claimed it entered their air space.

Tensions in the Gulf region are so high there are fears the United States and Iran could stumble into war.

The comments come as tensions between Washington and Teheran remain high over a spate of attacks on cargo ships, the downing of an American drone and the British seizure of a tanker carrying Iranian oil.

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Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the incident took place on Thursday morning as the Boxer was moving into the Strait of Hormuz.

"The US government is deeply concerned by the Iranian regime's uranium enrichment and other provocative behaviors, and will continue to target all who provide support to Iran's nuclear program", he added.

The incidents follow the launch of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign of heightened sanctions that are aimed at forcing Tehran back to the negotiating table after the United States walked away from the Iran nuclear deal past year.

Tensions have soared since Trump unilaterally abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme previous year, hitting Tehran with crippling sanctions that it calls "economic terrorism".

Iran's state media quoted Iran's Revolutionary Guards as saying the vessel had been smuggling one million litres (220,000 gallons) of fuel.

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But a British Ministry of Defence source told CNN that it "appeared that the Iranian vessels were trying to divert the Heritage from global to Iranian waters" before the British Navy ship HMS Montrose "got between them and issued a verbal warning to withdraw".

Iranian state TV aired footage of a vessel called "RIAH".

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday that said his country is capable of shutting the Strait of Hormuz, but does not want to.

The tanker was seized south of Iran's Larak Island, Iran said.

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