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Iran Seizes 2 Ships in Strait of Hormuz After US Brings Down Drone: Reports

Iranian naval forces seized a British oil tanker and a Liberian-flagged vessel Friday in the Strait of Hormuz a day after the amphibious assault ship Boxer brought down an Iranian drone in the same narrow sea lanes to the Persian Gulf, British and U.S. officials said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the latest incidents in the burgeoning crisis in the region “only [go] to show that Iran is trouble, nothing but trouble,” but he gave no immediate indication that the U.S. is considering a military response.

“We heard it was one, we heard it was two” ships that were seized, Trump said, but he stressed that neither was American. Britain is a close ally, he added, but “we have no written agreement” to respond in the Gulf to Iranian provocations directed at British shipping.

The president suggested that the U.S. might once again broaden economic sanctions against Iran. He predicted that “Iran is going to work out very nicely” in the long run because of sanctions that have hit the Tehran regime to the point where it “can’t even pay their soldiers.”

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“It would be very easy for us to make it a lot worse,” Trump said as he left the White House to spend the weekend at his Bedminster, New Jersey, estate.

Earlier, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that two ships had been seized in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian naval forces in small patrol craft, The Associated Press reported.

British and U.S. officials said one of the ships was the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, with 23 aboard. Iranian news outlets also said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had carried out the seizure of the Stena Impero.

British and U.S. officials said that a second ship, the Liberian-flagged MV Medsar, also was seized.

This story will be updated.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com.

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