Trump calls off Iran strike
President Trump is tweeting about his decision to stop an operation to strike Iran last night.
"We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die," he tweeted. "150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone."
Here's his full thread:
Tensions have been escalating between the US and Iran. If you're just getting caught up, here's what you need to know:
- First, some background: Iran shot down a United States military drone on Thursday. Last week, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman — and US officials have blamed Iran for conducting.
- About the downed drone: The US claims the drone was in international airspace, while Iran says the drone was over its territory.
- Last night: A military operation to strike Iran in retaliation for the downed drone was set to begin Thursday night when President Trump called it off, a US official with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN.
- How tensions are affecting flights: The Federal Aviation Administration is prohibiting US flights over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman due to rising tensions. Some airlines that operate flights in the region said Friday that they would adjust their operations.
Dubai-based airline Emirates it is re-routing all flights away from "areas of possible conflict."
Here's the company's statement:
"In light of the current situation, Emirates has taken precautionary measures including rerouting all flights away from areas of possible conflict. We are carefully monitoring the ongoing developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if the need arises."
About the area: The Strait of Hormuz has been the site of increasing tensions in recent weeks. Two oil tankers were attacked in the nearby Gulf of Oman last week — something the US has blamed Iran for.
Emirates said the adjustments have "minimally" affected the arrival and departure times of some flights.
Other airlines — including KLM, Qantas and British Airways — have also announced changes to their operations. The FAA on Thursday night banned US airlines from operating planes over parts of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
Here's a look at the area the FAA is restricting:
Iran said there was a US plane flying in the vicinity of the downed RQ-4 drone — but Iran refrained from targeting it, according to Iran’s commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, Amir Ali Hajizadeh.
"While we were tracking the spy drone there was also a P-8 spy plane with 35 crew on board which we could have shot at, but we did not do so," Hajizadeh said on Friday.
Hajizadeh went on to say: "Last week the Americans said that Iranian forces had tried to shoot and destroy an American drone. If we wanted to destroy that drone we could have done so at that time.”
The aborted US strikes against Iran on Thursday were meant to target a limited set of Iranian radars and missile batteries, according to a US official with direct knowledge of the matter.
The strikes were set to begin on Thursday night when the White House called them off, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
No US weapons had been launched when the decision was made to call the strikes off, the official said.
The decision to call off the strikes was first reported by the New York Times.
Hojatoleslam Javad Haj Ali Akbari, the Tehran Friday prayer leader, accused President Donald Trump of making "delusional statements" on Thursday.
"[He] claimed that the American drone was shot down flying over international waters, which proves that not only these gentlemen lack common sense but they all need a lesson in geography," the prayer leader told Mehr News Agency Friday.
"They should pay attention to the fact the Strait of Hormuz belongs to us and has always been the graveyard of aggressors," he added.
The US drone shot down Thursday was issued a final warning 10 minutes before it was shot down, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said Friday.
According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, the Commander of the Aerospace Force of the IRGC, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said the last warning was issued at 3:55 a.m. local time on Thursday (7:25 p.m. ET on Wednesday) and the drone was shot down at 4:05 a.m. (7:35 p.m. ET).
Hajizadeh told Tasnim that some parts of the drone were recovered from Iranian territorial waters near Kooh Mubarak. He said the drone showed the aggression of the United States.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has released the first images of what it says are pieces of the US drone shot down Thursday, state media outlet IRIB reported Friday.
Iranian officials said the drone had entered the country's airspace and was targeted after several warnings, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.
The Deputy of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, Qader Rahim-Zadeh, was quoted by Tasnim as saying:
The American plane was targeted after several warnings as a result of American aggressive temper and inattention to international laws.”
“Due to repeatedly violating international laws and crossing identified borders, American planes have received several warnings and all those warnings and flying routes are recorded.”
British Airways is diverting its flights away from the Strait of Hormuz following an escalation of tension in the region, the airline said Friday.
“Our flights continue to operate, using alternative routes,” it said in a statement, adding that the decision was in line with guidance issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The move follows announcements by other airlines including KLM and Qantas, to do the same, all citing safety concerns.
“Our safety and security team are constantly liaising with authorities around the world as part of their comprehensive risk assessment into every route we operate,” BA added.
The FAA on Thursday night issued a notice to US airlines prohibiting flight paths over the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf until further notice.
Here's a look at the restricted area: