Iran downed a mysterious drone near sensitive Gulf region, now what?

Iran could respond to the drone downing if it thinks it knows the source of the drone

A projectile and a drone launched at Saudi Arabia by YemenÕs Houthis are displayed at a Saudi military base, Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia June 21, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/STEPHEN KALIN)
A projectile and a drone launched at Saudi Arabia by YemenÕs Houthis are displayed at a Saudi military base, Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia June 21, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/STEPHEN KALIN)
Iran said its air defense downed a drone on Friday, claiming the drone entered Iran’s airspace near the southern city of Mahshahr. A commander of Iran’s air defense said it was taken down before it could get to a sensitive area.
Iran downed a US drone in June, but the American army says this drone was not one of theirs. That leaves the identity of the drone unclear.
Iran says it was a “foreign drone,” that a missile was fired to take it out and that it recovered wreckage.
This leads to some questions about what is going on. A drone and cruise missile attack targeted Saudi Arabia in September. The US alleges Iran was responsible.
Iran and the US have also been involved in tensions in the Persian Gulf since May. Iran attacked oil tankers and seized a British tanker. The US sent drones near Iranian airspace. The US also jammed or downed an Iranian drone in July. The US considered carrying out airstrikes on Iran in June after one of its drones was downed.
Drone wars are thus a kind of industry in the Gulf nowadays. A major naval exercise recently took place with the US and other allies in the area. Iran also sent some ships to sea and Iranian fast boats have harassed ships in the Gulf. The US Central Command was adamant on Friday that the drone was not their asset. That could mean it was a drone of any number of other forces or countries in the region. The city is also close to Iraq where there are large protests.
Drones have increasingly raised tensions in the region. In August Israel struck a “killer drone” team operating in Syria. This led to tensions with Hezbollah as well after Hezbollah claimed to down a drone in Beirut. Iran announced this week it is increasing uranium enrichment. The US also sanctioned more Iranians this week.
Iran could respond to the drone downing if it thinks it knows the source of the drone. It will have to see what kind of wreckage it recovered. Iranian media was quick to brag and showcase the downing of the drone so it is clear Iran wants to use the incident to its benefit.