Russian Federation on Reports of Downing Iranian Drone: Conflict Outbreak Possible

This undated Ministry of Defence handout shows the HMS Duncan a Type 45 Destroyer which will relieve HMS Montrose in the region as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping. Iran on Friday

This undated Ministry of Defence handout shows the HMS Duncan a Type 45 Destroyer which will relieve HMS Montrose in the region as Iran threatens to disrupt shipping. Iran on Friday

Earlier on Thursday, Iran's state television said the country's Revolutionary Guard forces had seized a foreign oil tanker in the area on Sunday.

"We made a lot of progress over the last two and a half years, so we don't have a lot of tankers there but we have a lot of warships there".

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Iran's seizure of the Stena Impero was unacceptable and called for freedom of navigation in the Gulf.

"The Revolutionary Guards say the Americans are continuously trying to get the Iranians to react to their provocation", she said.

Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Trump said that USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship of the U.S. Navy, destroyed the drone that threatened the U.S. warship by flying within 1,000 yards of it and ignored multiple warnings.

"The Revolutionary Guards issued a statement saying they had seized the Stena Impero, citing worldwide maritime law for their action", adds the newspaper. "We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran", the company said in a statement. Northern Marine Group is owned by Stena AB.

The "Stena Impero" took a sudden turn into Iranian water despite heading for Saudia Arabia, according to maritime tracking services. "If they fly too close to our ships, they'll continue to be shot down", the Trump administration official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate word from the Guards about the second tanker.

On Friday a USA official said Washington has "very clear evidence" that it downed the drone but gave no further details.

Last week, three Iranian boats attempted to block the British Heritage tanker from entering the Strait of Hormuz.

On 9 July, the United Kingdom raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to "critical" - the highest level.

The British government says it is urgently seeking information after reports Iran has seized the British-flagged ship.

The Pentagon said Thursday's incident happened in global waters while the Boxer was transiting the waterway to enter the Persian Gulf. Refinitiv data showed the Stena Impero is a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard on patrol with an Iranian naval vessel during manoeuvres in the Gulf Sea and Sea of Oman.

However, the Ministry of Defence said it was part of a planned deployment and not related to the current tensions with Iran. Tasnim also quoted unnamed sources saying tanker had been causing pollution by dumping oil residue.