MIDEAST TENSIONS | Putin: US attack on Iran would be catastrophic

9:45 a.m.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — TRussian President Vladimir Putin is warning the U.S. against using force on Iran, saying it would have catastrophic consequences.

Tensions have been building recently over last week’s attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran. Iran has denied the accusations.

Speaking on Thursday during a televised call-in show, Putin said the U.S. military action against Iran would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”

He added that it would trigger an escalation of hostilities with unpredictable results.

Putin noted that Iran has abided by the terms of a nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal, adding that he considers U.S. sanctions against Iran unfounded.

Earlier today, the U.S. military’s Central Command has confirmed that Iranian forces shot down a U.S. drone, an RQ-4 Global Hawk, saying the downing took place in international airspace and describing it as an “unprovoked attack.”

A statement from CENTCOM says the unmanned aircraft — an RQ-4A Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone — was “shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz” early on Thursday.

The statement further said that “Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false” and that “this was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”

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