What Is Iran Planning

Grind for June 22nd
“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Shot’s Fired

The Headline

Iran shoots down US military drone

The Grind

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) on Thursday shot down an unarmed and unmanned US military drone it claimed was flying in Iranian airspace.

“The drone violated Iran’s airspace and engaged in information gathering and spying,” said the IRGC (a designated terrorist organization).

US military officials said the drone was conducting surveillance in international airspace near the Strait of Hormuz – a key shipping route through which 20% of all oil moves.

The Details

Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, President Trump suggested the attack could have been a mistake: “I would imagine it was a general or somebody…I think they made a mistake and I’m not just talking about the country made a mistake; somebody under the command of the country made a mistake.”

Mistake or not, the incident is the first direct attack on US assets for which Iran has claimed responsibility in four decades.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, head of US Air Force Central Command, described the attack as “an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and the free flow of commerce.”

IRGC Commander General Hossein Salami said the attack carries a clear message to the United States: “The message is that the guardians of the borders of Islamic Iran will decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land. The only solution for the enemies is to respect the territorial integrity and national interests of Iran.” Salami added that Iran “does not intend to engage in war with any country,” but is “completely ready for war.”

On June 17th, Iran announced it had “quadrupled” uranium enrichment and would soon exceed the stockpile limits outlined in the JCPOA.

And Then There Were Two

The Headline

Contest for next UK Prime Minister narrows to final two

The Grind

With the fate of Brexit uncertain, British MPs cast their penultimate vote for the country’s next Prime Minister. Boris Johnson received 160 votes, followed by Jeremy Hunt with 77 and Michael Gove with 75.

The results pit Johnson against Hunt in a final vote involving 160,000 Tory members.

The Details

Mr. Hunt is a longtime cabinet member who served as Health Secretary from 2012 to 2018 before he was appointed Foreign Secretary. He voted to “Remain” in the 2016 EU referendum.

Mr. Johnson served as Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016 and as Foreign Secretary from 2016 to July 2018, when he resigned over Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposal. Johnson led the “Vote Leave” campaign with Michael Gove during the EU referendum.

“What a choice: the man who broke the NHS or the man who wants to sell it to Donald Trump,” said Andrew Gwynne, Labor’s national campaign coordinator.

Moving forward, Hunt and Johnson will take part in 16 hustings (meetings with potential voters) throughout the country before going head-to-head during a televised debate on July 9th.

The final result is expected to be announced during the week of July 22nd.

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