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US vows to shoot down any Iran drones that fly too closely to its ships

US vows to shoot down any Iran drones that fly too closely to its ships

The United States will destroy any Iranian drones that fly too closely to its ships and has “clear evidence” that it shot down such a drone on Thursday, a senior Trump administration official said on Friday.

“If they fly too close to our ships, they’ll continue to be shot down,” the official told reporters at a briefing.

The official said “we have very clear evidence” that U.S. Navy warship Boxer shot down an Iranian drone. “We’re confident,” the official said.

A video of the incident could be released by the Pentagon, the official said. The official also dismissed an offer made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Iran could immediately ratify a document prescribing more intrusive inspections of its nuclear program if the United States abandoned its economic sanctions on Tehran.

Relations between the United States and Iran have worsened since last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 international nuclear deal between world powers and Iran. Under the pact, Iran agreed to restrict nuclear work long seen by the West as a cover for developing atomic bombs in return for lifting sanctions.

Zarif appeared to have no decision-making ability and that Washington “would not consider anything from him serious,” the official said.

Asked whom the United States would need to hear from in order to have negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program, the official said: “I would say the supreme leader or the president.”

Trump remained open to negotiations with Iran without preconditions on its nuclear program and will maintain a tough economic sanctions regime on Tehran in the meantime, the official said.