Jun 15, 2019

U.S. claims Iran shot down American drones prior to oil tanker attacks

The Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, which was attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Iranian forces reportedly shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone in the hours before Thursday's attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. official tells CNN.

Why it matters: Heightened tensions and hawkish American rhetoric in the wake of Thursday's incident have brought back recently reduced fears that the U.S. could be on course for war with Iran.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump have accused Iran of being responsible for the oil tanker attacks based on U.S. intelligence that has not been made public.
  • The administration released a video on Friday purporting to show Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing a mine from one of the oil tankers after the attack. "It’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it," Trump said in a Fox & Friends interview, referring to the video.

Details: Before the U.S. drone was shot into the water by surface-to-air missiles, it "observed Iranian vessels closing in on the tankers," the U.S. official told CNN. The official did not say if the drone "saw the boats conducting an actual attack." They also claimed another U.S. Reaper drone was shot into the Red Sea on Wednesday by what is believed to be a Houthi-fired Iranian missile.

The other side: The Iranian mission to the U.N. dismissed accusations of orchestrating the oil tanker attack as "unfounded" on Thursday and called for an immediate dialogue to reduce pressure and prevent "the reckless and dangerous policies and practices of the U.S."

  • Iran's president also said Saturday the country would continue to scale back its compliance with provisions of the 2015 nuclear deal until other parties to the agreement show "positive signs," Reuters reports.

Go deeper: Pompeo blames Iran for attacks on oil tankers

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,309, 439 — Total deaths: 72,638 — Total recoveries: 273,546Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 347, 003 — Total deaths: 10,335 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  4. Public health latest: Asymptomatic children could play important role in coronavirus spread, new data from the CDC shows.
  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.

Go deeperArrow45 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll reaches 10,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday the coming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health