Op-Ed: Iran refrained from attacking a US Boeing P8 with 35 aboard

Posted Jun 23, 2019 by Ken Hanly
Although Iran recently shot down a US Global Hawk surveillance plane, they reportedly did not fire at another US military plane with 35 aboard that the Revolutionary Guard's air defense claimed had accompanied the drone.
Boeing factory in Everett Washington state.
Boeing factory in Everett Washington state.
Jeremy Elson (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The US Boeing P-8
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s Aerospace Force, was quoted as saying by the Tasnim news agency: “With the US drone in the region there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board. This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not."
The P-8 Poseidon
The Boeing P-8 is not just a smaller plane with passengers it's a military aircraft owned and operated by the US Navy. It is used broadly for anti-submarine operations, but also general anti-shipping operations. It carries a number of weapons including torpedoes and other anti-surface weapons. So a US military aircraft accompanying the drone could have potentially carried out an attack.
The report was issued on Friday. Whether it is true or not it is probably intended to be conciliatory as has Trump's recent last minute decision not to attack Iran and also his suggestion that the downing of the Global Hawk drone was an error of some sort.
Certainly the downing of the PS 8 would no doubt have resulted in a violent response from the US. The Iranian side has never suggested the downing was a mistake.
Trump to add sanctions to Iran and launches cyber-attacks
While Trump has not yet taken military action against Iran the US is reported to have made cyberattacks on Iran. Trump is also increasing the number of sanctions on Iran on Monday. These moves are hardly likely to reduce tensions.
An Iranian general said the US was warned several times about the drones incursion into Iran's territorial space but no answer was received so the drone was shot down.