Sept. 2 (BP) — Iran briefly seized two U.S. drones in the Red Sea late Thursday night, the second time in a week it attempted a drone seizure. The U.S. recovered both drones Friday.
NBC News, citing an American military official, said the incident involving U.S. Saildrones in the water occurred in international waters.
When Iran brought the drones onto their ship, the U.S. Navy sent two destroyers and communicated with the Iranians until they released the drones. It took four hours to retrieve the drones.
According to CNN, a U.S. Defense official said this incident occurring just days after another unsuccessful drone seizure attempt “looks to be an escalation.”
Iran’s first attempt to grab a U.S. drone was thwarted Monday, when the Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard attempted to seize one. When a U.S. Navy ship and Sea Hawk helicopter responded, the Iranians disconnected the tow line and left the area.
According to Iran’s state television, the Iranian Navy seized “two vessels on Thursday to prevent any possible accident after issuing warnings to the U.S. fleet.” The Iranian report said the two vessels were released when international shipping lanes were secured.
That state TV report also said the incident occurred when an Iranian naval flotilla found “several unmanned spying vessels abandoned in the international maritime routes.”
The drone incidents with Iran occurred as serious efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon are underway.
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers have called on President Joe Biden to share any details of a potential Iran nuclear deal revival before any actual deal is signed.